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After bankruptcy filing, customers still relying on Kodak

posted 21 Jan 2012, 06:06 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 Jan 2012, 06:07 ]

Eastman Kodak, the pioneering photographic film company, files for bankruptcy and plans business overhaul.

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES  (EASTMAN KODAK HANDOUT) - They were film pioneers and invented the hand-held camera, but Kodak's future is looking grim. Eastman Kodak has filed for bankruptcy protection, following a long and slow plunge in fortunes.

The 130 year-old firm said it had obtained a 950 million dollar credit facility from Citgroup to keep it going for 18 months.

The action will buy Kodak time to reshape its business and possibly find buyers for some of its 1,100 digital patents.

Duggal Visual Solutions CEO Mike Duggal is taking the news of Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy in stride. His company is one of the largest professional users of Kodak's products- but he is confident he can still count on Kodak.

"We don't feel that our relationship with Kodak is going to be affected. We have spoken with them as soon as like the news became larger and we talked about potential inventory issues and they assured us that there will be none."

The bankruptcy filing was not a surprise- Kodak hasn't made a yearly profit since 2007 and has been shedding workers.

"They were making so much money and being so successful with the film and all the analog photography that perhaps they could have more aggressively went into digital, being they invented it," Duggal said.

Instead Kodak put digital innovation on the back burner- allowing rivals to take market share.

Now, the company is looking to sell over a thousand digital patents as part of the bankruptcy.

It is a true reversal of fortune for a company founded back in 1880.

Brian Wallis is the chief curator at the International Center of Photography:

"It really signals the end of analog photography in a pretty definitive way. The end has been kind of slow in coming but certainly since about 2000, digital photography has really taken precedence."

Kodak has financing to keep it operating during the bankruptcy process, which it expects to complete in 2013.