Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

France 24 meets George Weah ahead of inauguration

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gymnast's fierce courtroom address

Read more

THE DEBATE

A whole new world: Trump anniversary special

Read more

#TECH 24

Will artificial intelligence ever surpass the human brain?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Aiding migrants in France: What are the legal implications?

Read more

FOCUS

The challenge of clearing Colombia of landmines

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Gambians reflect on first year of democracy

Read more

FASHION

Pitti Uomo in Florence, the world's largest men's fashion showcase

Read more

ENCORE!

Award-winning Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza on keeping it real

Read more

Business

Camera pioneer Eastman Kodak files for bankruptcy

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-19

Pioneering US firm Eastman Kodak, which popularised photography for the average household, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. Kodak has been struggling in the age of digital cameras and camera phones, laying off 47,000 employees since 2003.

AFP - US camera pioneer Eastman Kodak, which brought photography to the masses over a century ago, filed for bankruptcy early Thursday.

"After considering the advantages of Chapter 11 at this time, the Board of Directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak," CEO Antonio Perez said in a statement, referring to US bankruptcy proceedings.

"Our goal is to maximize value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors, and pension trustees. We are also committed to working with our valued customers," he added.

The company, which dates back more than a hundred years, was a pioneer in popularising photography.

But it has been struggling to keep pace with the digital age and years of poor performance had already forced it to lay off 47,000 employees and close 13 manufacturing plants since 2003.

"Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core IP assets," Perez said.

"We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company."

In its heyday Kodak shares topped $80 in 1996 -- just at the outset of the digital photo revolution that eventually replaced the need for consumers to buy Kodak film, once a virtual monopoly in the US market.

The bankruptcy filing places the jobs of Kodak's 19,000 remaining employees in question. At its height in the 1980s, it had 145,000 workers.

Kodak's books have been awash with red ink for years. The last time it reported a net profit was a small gain in 2007.

Founded in 1892 by inventor George Eastman, Kodak developed handheld "Brownie" cameras that were sold at popular prices and furnished the film that would keep consumers pumping profits into the company for decades.

Three generations of Americans and many in other countries learned to snap photos with Brownies.

And "Kodak Moment", the company's advertising catchphrase for its film, was embedded deep into the vernacular.

The company meanwhile was lauded as one of the country's top technology innovators -- the Apple or Google of its time.

Ironically, it pioneered research into digital photography beginning in the mid-1970s. But it was Asian manufacturers that stole a march in that market in the 1990s as Kodak failed to see the need to break from its old business lines.
 

Date created : 2012-01-19

  • PHOTOJOURNALISM

    'La Zone' wins FRANCE 24-RFI web documentary prize

    Read more

  • PHOTOGRAPHY

    Polaroid collection snapshots to go under the hammer

    Read more

COMMENT(S)