The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

September 4, 2013

AP EXCLUSIVE: Kodak CEO talks company's future

(Continued)

Perez was appointed CEO in 2005. Under his leadership, the Rochester, N.Y., company had restructured its money-losing film business by 2007. The company closed 13 factories, shuttered 130 film-processing labs and eliminated 50,000 workers around the world at a cost of about $3.4 billion.

Kodak expected demand for film to decline, but gradually. The company anticipated that new demand from emerging markets such as China would offset some of the decline in the United States. But Perez said Chinese consumers opted for smartphones instead of cameras, and demand for film plummeted.

Meanwhile, the economic collapse of 2008 and the resulting plunge in interest rates left some of the company's pension obligations underfunded. It was those obligations, along with other legacy costs, that Perez said eventually resulted in the January 2012 bankruptcy filing.

Revenue dropped from about $13.3 billion in 2003 to $6 billion in 2011.

Under court oversight, Kodak continued to shed costs in the form of businesses, facilities and workers. It shut down its consumer camera business and sold off an online photo service. It spun off its personal and document imaging businesses to its pension plan and sold off many of its patents. It took its name off the theater that hosts the Academy Awards each year. In fact, much of Kodak is gone except for its commercial and packaging printing businesses. The company will emerge with about 8,500 employees, just a fraction of the 145,000 it had at its peak in the 1980s. Revenue is expected to total $2.7 billion this year.

—NEW BUSINESSES

Perez said that by slimming down, Kodak is able to focus research and development on businesses the company sees as more profitable.

The restructured company's operations are split between a trio of businesses: packaging, graphic communications and functional printing. All three are rooted in Kodak's commercial printing technology.

Kodak scientists created printers, inks and other materials designed to improve resolution, while also increasing the variety of surfaces that can be printed on. In doing so, it has boosted printing speed and lowered costs for customers.

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