NEW YORK – Eastman Kodak Co., which dominated the photography industry before being hobbled by digital competition, won court approval Tuesday of a plan to exit bankruptcy as a commercial printing company that sells nothing to consumers.
The plan, which cuts about $4.1 billion of debt, was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in Manhattan. It affirms Kodak’s move away from cameras, film sales and consumer photo developing, which made it a household name, to focus on printing technology for corporate customers.
“Kodak is one of the best-known names of American business,” Gropper said. “Its decline in bankruptcy is a tragedy of American economic life.”
Secured claims will be paid in full under the plan, while shareholders will receive nothing. Unsecured creditors with estimated claims of as much as $2.2 billion will be paid 4 cents to 5 cents on the dollar. In court papers, Kodak called the plan a “comprehensive compromise” between the company and its creditors.
Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., filed a Chapter 11 petition in January 2012 after spending $3.4 billion on attempts to turn the company around. By then, Kodak had already shed 47,000 employees since 2003, closed 13 factories that made film, paper and chemicals, and shuttered 130 photo laboratories.