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Picture this: Kodak could get out of bankruptcy as early as July

Camera biz to become printing'n'imaging service

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Eastman Kodak has said that it's hoping to get out of bankruptcy as early as July this year, as it turns itself into a commercial imaging firm under the control of its creditors.

The one-time camera company told the US bankruptcy court in Manhattan that it expects to issue new stock, with most of it going to folks it owes money to who have secured loans. There was no clear plan for unsecured creditors, who are owed as much as $2.2bn, though they will also get some shares in the revamped company.

To push ahead with its transformation, Kodak will need both court approval and the nod from its creditors. Court permission comes first, which will then allow it to disclose the full details of its bankruptcy plans so that creditors can vote on them.

Kodak's plan for the future is to concentrate on selling printing equipment and services to businesses, seemingly leaving the consumer market to the players who pushed the company into bankruptcy to begin with.

The firm is only in a position to move on at all because it sold its personal imaging and document imaging businesses to its UK pension fund yesterday for $650m. At the same time the fund agreed to give up a $2.8bn claim against Kodak, the biggest unsecured debt in the bankruptcy.

It's the end of an era for Eastman Kodak, which brought out its first camera in 1888 and became so synonymous with film-filled cameras that it coined its own phrase for happy family members - a "Kodak moment".

However, the company failed to keep up with the fast-digitising world, despite inventing the digital camera in the first place, and went bankrupt in January last year. Its last profits were back in 2007. ®

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