UPDATE 2-U.S. judge approves Kodak plan to exit bankruptcy

Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:42pm EDT
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By Nick Brown

NEW YORK Aug 20 (Reuters) - Eastman Kodak Co, once a mighty photography pioneer, earned court approval on Tuesday for a plan to emerge from bankruptcy as a much smaller digital-imaging company.

The green light from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in New York puts Kodak on track to exit bankruptcy in about two weeks.

"It will be enormously valuable for the company to get out of Chapter 11 and hopefully begin to regain its position in the pantheon of American business," Gropper said.

Kodak, based in Rochester, New York, was for years synonymous with household cameras and family snapshots. It filed a $6.75 billion bankruptcy in January 2012, weighed down by high pension costs and a years-long delay in embracing digital camera technology.

With the court approval, the company's exit from bankruptcy is now imminent, Chief Executive Antonio Perez said in a statement.

"Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader serving large and growing commercial imaging markets," he said, adding the company will have a leaner structure and a stronger balance sheet.

It has sold off assets, including its consumer-focused operations, and will emerge from Chapter 11 to focus mainly on commercial products such as high-speed digital printing technology and flexible packaging for consumer goods.   Continued...