Posts Tagged ‘Kodak’

  • Kodak to sell flexo packaging business

    Kodak is selling its thriving Flexographic Packaging Division and will use the proceeds to repay outstanding debt as it shifts focus to other growth areas including Sonora litho environmental plates, inkjet and workflow.

    ‘The right time to monetize this valuable asset’: Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke.

    “This is a great opportunity to unlock value for shareholders given the strong interest we have received in the Flexographic Packaging Division (FPD),” said Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke.

    “FPD has performed exceptionally well over the past five years and has become a significant player in the industry,” Clark said. “This business is an excellent example of Kodak incubating and bringing disruptive innovation to the marketplace. Kodak has been evaluating monetization opportunities for the last several years in order to deleverage the company and we believe this is the right time to monetize this valuable asset.”

    Over the last year, FPD reported a 9% jump in revenue to $US150 million and an 18% increase in earnings before tax to $US33 million. FPD currently employs a staff of about 300 people.

    Flexo plates are widely used in packaging print production on a variety of substrates, including plastic, metallic films, cellophane, and paper. Kodak’s flexo division produces the Flexcel NX system of flexo imaging equipment, printing plates, consumables and related services.

    Following the sale, Kodak will continue to focus on growth areas including Sonora environmental plates, enterprise inkjet, workflow software and brand licensing.

    “Kodak’s improved capital structure will allow us to increase our focus on demonstrated growth engines, while continuing to invest in and provide solutions across the commercial printing, film, and advanced materials industries,” said Clarke.

    Kodak also announced it’s signed a letter of intent for a $US400 million,18-month loan with an existing lender to refinance its existing term debt, which would permit the company to “pursue the sale process of FPD in a thoughtful manner in order to achieve maximum value for shareholders.”

  • Workflow and inkjet star in latest ‘Xtraordinary’ Print21 magazine

    The latest issue of Print21 magazine is out now, featuring Fujifilm’s Onset X-series of flatbed inkjet presses, a deep dive into workflow, a profile of IVE boss Geoff Selig, and more.

    Print21 has hit the ground running at Yaffa Media with an issue packed full of news and features you can’t afford to miss. On the cover, Fujifilm’s powerhouse Onset X3 inkjet press wowed audiences at an open house for its customer Active Display Group with its lightning speed and stunning resolution. “We found print speed at high quality will ultimately enable us to become even more competitive in a challenging market,” said Stuart Gittus, general manager of operations at ADG.

    In a nine-page workflow special, Patrick Howard examines the new PDF 2.0 and XJDF standards, and asks what they mean for printers; the feature also looks at offerings from PrintIQ, Kodak, Ricoh, Esko, EFI, and Tharstern to help automate and streamline your workflow and prepress procedures.

    Carrying on the connectivity theme, Andy McCourt plugs in to how the industry is connecting to the world, socially, culturally and economically. “We are in effect primitives in a new culture,” he writes, and urges printers to seize the opportunities modernity has to offer.

    For this issue’s People in Print profile, Geoff Selig, executive chairman of IVE Group, one of Australia’s largest printers, shares his outline for improving the working lives of IVE employees. “It’s about having an open view and awareness around elements of inclusion,” he said.

    German press giant Heidelberg is taking the hard work out of operators’ hands, gradually moving towards a “push-to-stop” system where manual intervention only happens when it’s absolutely needed, as MD Richard Timson told Patrick Howard. “Most of our presses are completely under-utilised because there’s too much fog in between the processes. You don’t need to run a press seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. If you streamline some of these processes in this way you might be able to run a single shift and make as much money,” said Timson.

    In the packaging world, digital printing is making its mark on labels with a surge in press purchases across inkjet, toner and Indigo. That’s not the only area digital is reshaping, though – the humble corrugated box is receiving a makeover thanks to massive inkjet presses from companies such as EFI and HP. Jake Nelson delves into how the digital world is impacting both sectors, one job at a time.

    All that plus installations, profiles, and important news from the coalface makes this issue of Print21 magazine your vital long-weekend read. Check it out today!

    To subscribe to our print edition, go here or email editor@print21.com.au.

  • The case for more capacity-based pricing in the printing industry – James Cryer

    The story of how Anthony Thirlby’s UK-based printing company, ESP Colour, is revolutionising the workflow, pricing and productivity of the industry – in the April issue of Print21 magazine – prompted James Cryer, industry gadfly and iconoclast, to write an affirmative and positive response.

    Greetings Anthony,

    I was fascinated to read the article on your company in Patrick Howard’s Print21. Being 4th generation in print, I toss the occasional thought bubble into his magazine and online publications on issues that annoy or fascinate me about the printing industry.

    And being self-employed I can afford to be as idiotic, controversial or merely thought provoking as I wish. No one can fire me! I’ve tried everything to fire up a vicious attack –even a mild rebuke, or being told I’m an idiot would be nice ­but so far nothing.

    I can just imagine if I’d written about a hypothetical company that proposed to do what you’re doing and wrote: Now what you’ve got to do to make a buck is to tell your clients they CAN’T have their favourite stock, nor can they have exactly the trim-size their chairman nominated 40 years ago and they may have to WAIT a few extra days  – the fact that the newly-minted purchasing officer who said they needed the job tomorrow when they didn’t really need it for two weeks is irrelevant! – And (I haven’t finished yet!) your client CANNOT see a proof, no, not even if they offer to pay, it’ll bugger-up the entire workflow and cost millions!

    And finally, if they’d even persisted in reading this far without tipping their morning coffee over my words as if to obliterate them forever, I would, tongue in cheek, of course, tell them that if any client even HINTED at wanting to come and do a press-check they’d be fired! And yes, firing clients is actually part of the process of running a profitable print shop.

    As said, if I’d written that as a serious article I’d have to check my letterbox and look under my car even more frequently than I do now. And yet, here it is, in brutal reality, reminding us that truth really IS stranger than fiction – a printing company making money by breaking all the rules!

    Just backtracking slightly, I must say I am a bit of an iconoclast myself when it comes to trying to break down some of the long-held conventions, which have plagued our industry. So, when I first started reading the article I was mildly intrigued and began underlining a few bits that caught my fancy.

    By the time I got to the end, the whole double-page spread was awash with double and triple underlinings, furious exclamation-marks and vigorous marginal scribblings, making it vaguely like one of our grandkids’ works of art.

    Anthems to success

    But seriously, this article, or more correctly, your business model, should be compulsory reading for all intending entrants into the wonderful world of commercial print. You are to be worshipped as the anti-Christ – the messiah, the Great Profit (sorry!) the one who can lead us out of the wilderness and back onto the sunlit uplands – from whence we came(th).

    The bits I thought were the most radical were –

    • “98% of what we print goes on one size”
    • “We … employ the best people [and] pay them 20% above average” (I must say this is music to a recruiter’s ears)
    • “We never schedule by delivery date” (love it!)
    • “There was initial reluctance from clients but we won them over” – and – “clients formed the biggest obstacle”.

    They’re all anthems to success, but arguably the last one is the most telling. Traditionally we’ve all been a bunch of lemmings, reluctant to stand out from the crowd or take a stand. We’re an industry cowed by convention and struggling to climb out from under the yoke of craft, which philosophically is built around perpetuating the status quo.

    If I had written that mythic article proposing we should do what you have done, I’d have been assailed by an avalanche of why it wouldn’t work.  We’re unwitting subscribers to the maxim: The perfect is the enemy of the good – in that we’re quick to see possible faults with ANY new system and so we cling to the proven or the familiar and don’t do anything!

    Plus, we’ve been too quick to seek the ‘magic bullet’ in rushing out to buy the latest Speedmaster (for example).  But if you don’t upgrade the workflow software you may as well just go and buy a second-hand press. Us blokes and we are mainly a masculine industry, are too bedazzled by big iron. We don’t see the bigger picture, which is the point Frank Romano made when he said: ‘Workflow is king’ (or words to that effect).

    Another dimension to this is, I was pleased to read that nowhere are you bleating about ‘quality’. That’s yesterday’s fish-wrapper – ALL print quality is good these days!

    What you’re doing is not unlike what Subway do; offer limited choices  – a few bread choices, a few fillings, a few sauces, etc. The customer thinks he’s getting unlimited choices, but in fact Subway have worked out what – I paraphrase you – 98% of people want to eat! If you want Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning or some such, forget it! Go somewhere else. And we’re not stopping to ask the chef if he’s heard of it. Go away, you’re holding up the queue of paying customers!

    I’m not suggesting that printing companies should employ Serco-style armed guards with machetes and axes to ward off time-waster clients, but … hmmm!

    You want it when?

    One of the causes of this pressure to schedule jobs according to their perceived ‘wanted dates,’ which you have refused to kow-tow to, is the sense that every print job is URGENT! We’ve probably contributed to the problem, collectively over the years by over-promising and under-delivering – or to put it in more technical jargon: we frequently run late.

    So clients hedge their bets by insisting on a delivery date that is sooner than they really need it. And why wouldn’t they? We don’t give them any reason to do otherwise. The pressure this creates leads to a lumpy workflow, where we DON’T group like jobs or adjust the press progressively as you do. The workflow becomes a battleground where ‘special pleading’ trumps efficiency.

    This disruptiveness gets embedded in our collective cost structure and creates a massive arbitrage opportunity for someone to come along, who is not under-cutting but who simply has a smoother workflow.

    How to get the smoother sequencing? If only there was a sorting mechanism to group all the GENUINELY urgent jobs, then the reasonably urgent ones – and finally the non time-critical ones. One idea I’ve had (Anthony, I’d be interested in your thoughts) is to price them differently according to urgency. I’m not suggesting you change your system but there may be scope to introduce a time-sensitive pricing mechanism, if not in your operation, then other printers could explore it, as another way of using price signals to modify customers’ behaviour.

    My proposal is as follows;

    What better or easier way to do that, than to simply quote EVERY job by routinely offering (say) three price options:

    $10/k for urgent delivery (i.e. that falls outside our normal flow);

    $9/k for normal delivery;

    $8/k if you’re in no hurry and allow us to blend it into our workflow at a time that suits us.

    The numbers are arbitrary, of course. But the point is that for 100 years we’ve priced everything on a normal delivery basis, but we cave in and deliver many jobs ahead of schedule, which has a disruptive and largely un-recovered cost impact. Economists love this three-tiered approach as it places a cost on disruption, but it ALSO offers a reward/incentive to those clients who genuinely aren’t in any hurry. Why should they pay as much as the queue-jumper? But that’s what our traditional one size-fits-all pricing philosophy has encouraged over the years: it’s actually ENCOURAGED everyone to seek a rushed delivery benefit for free!

    This idea is not new! Airlines use it, as do hotels, just about every service provider in a competitive market where excess capacity can come and go like the wind, uses it – except the printing industry!

    There is no LOGICAL reason why we shouldn’t adopt a capacity-based pricing model. We can now monitor and predict our workflow pretty well. I think the answer is that our estimators probably went to the same school that estimators in the building game went to where you simply take the cost of a tonne of bricks, add the cement (metaphorically), add the labour component, add the lot together and bingo! there’s the cost of your building.

    I know it’s going to cause aggravation among some quarters, who will struggle to understand why the very same book or brochure could cost $6 one day and $5 another. I’m dying to tell someone, somewhere, someday, the reason is that the latter client didn’t lie about wanting it overnight; he actually gave the printer a few days extra to produce it!

    But getting back to your new approach. The economist would view it as simply stopping one client gaining an unfair advantage –i.e. getting his job earlier than another client, but not paying anything for that benefit. It’s a bit like a crowd at a football match; if one person stands up to gain an unfair advantage everyone else then has to. But nobody is better off. In fact they’re all worse off, because now they’re all standing!

    Your pricing approach, is virtually like saying, if EVERYBODY sits down, we’re ALL going to be better off!

    Everyone in our industry is complaining about margins. Everyone’s complaining about not wanting to lower prices, because in theory it squeezes margins. Everyone talks about trying to get a better i.e. higher, price.  But the paradox is, that the higher the price of ANYTHING, the LESS people will buy. With the advent of the internet and other media, it was never so important that print should be price competitive, not with the bloke down the road, but with other communication options.

    Your approach addresses the margin issue without obsessing about the price issue and where you’re having the best of both worlds; one – by asking everyone to ‘sit down’ your margins go up, and two – by effectively offering a generally more competitive price, more people will buy from you.

    Sometimes the simplest solutions seem to elude us.

    I’d be interested to know what you think of the above – a lot of it is simply stating the bleeding obvious – but sometimes even that has to be spelled out.

    Yours is arguably the single most dramatic break-through in memory, in our march towards greater efficiency.

    Regards,

    James Cryer, BA, MBA

    JDA Print Recruitment

    Visit and LIKE our Facebook page to see how JDA is promoting print.

     

     

  • Printing plates in play – Print21 magazine article

    The Australian and New Zealand offset plate sector has been in turmoil ever since Kodak and Heidelberg ended their distribution deal at the beginning of the year. For the second time in four years Heidelberg customers are being asked to change their plates, this time from Kodak to Fujifilm. Rivals are circling; Kodak is looking to win back market share, Chinese suppliers see an opening, and Fujifilm and Agfa are determined to hold their positions. Patrick Howard looks at the winners and losers in the battle of the plates.

    In the end it was Steve Venn who made the call to terminate the printing plate distribution agreement between Kodak and Heidelberg. In January this year the managing director of the resurgent imaging company announced that, as of 1 July, Heidelberg would no longer be supplying Kodak printing plates in Australia and New Zealand. Richard Timson, his opposite number at Heidelberg, says it was only a matter of time as to who made the call. “We were both posturing. If they had not ended it we would. We were not happy with Kodak,” he said.

    The move has set in motion a fierce competition for market share. It opens up a window of opportunity for printers to negotiate and renegotiate their printing plate agreements with the suppliers. Kodak with Heidelberg accounted for around one third of the estimated 7.5 million square metres of printing plates used in Australia/NZ every year. Under the agreement, Heidelberg had exclusive rights to supply Kodak plates to all commercial sheetfed printing companies. Kodak retained its web printing clients and newspapers customers.

    Now Heidelberg is going to supply its customers with Fujifilm plates, its second shift of supply in four years after the press manufacturer left Agfa for Kodak in 2010. The battle is now on between the two companies as each tries to keep customers, Kodak with its plates, Heidelberg with its reputation for service and solid logistics. Fujifilm and Agfa, the other major suppliers, are almost on the sidelines of this stoush. It is about reputation and brand, customer loyalty and competing technology claims.

    And then there’s price, of course.

    Evenly split market

    Before the current unrest, the offset plate market in Australia and New Zealand was roughly split evenly between the three major players with Agfa, Kodak (including Heidelberg) and Fujifilm accounting for one-third each. Minor players from China, notably Xingraphics from Ferag and manroland, and HG plates from Ferrostaal, are also in the market with relatively small shares. In the past few years the Chinese suppliers have found it difficult to make headway against the entrenched market power of the Big Three, four if you count Heidelberg. However, in light of the current imbroglio that may be about to change.

    The clear winner of the market disruption is Fujifilm, which will gain market share no matter what happens. It will get whatever remains of the Heidelberg business after Kodak has tried to win as many customers as possible. The state of play will become clearer during July when, no matter who has won the deal, who has gained the business, deliveries will have to resume to ensure continuity of supply. One thing is certain, this will make Fujifilm, under the direction of former Heidelberger, Lindsay Barnes, the largest supplier of printing plates, albeit with some of its product being delivered under the Heidelberg Saphira brand. Meanwhile Agfa’s Mark Brindley is keeping his head down, concentrating on keeping his newspaper and commercial customers happy while the others battle it out.

    Although all players are keen to emphasise the value they bring with their plate supply, over and beyond competitive pricing, there is no doubt that price is key in the market shake-out. Printers are being courted even more assiduously than normal, especially the Heidelberg/Kodak customers. First blood in this contest went to Kodak when Steve Venn signed up Blue Star and Whirlwind, two of the largest commercial printers in the country.

    Why would you do it?

    "This is a very tough business," Steve Venn, Kodak.

    Any way you look at it, Kodak has embarked on a high stakes game that will certainly see it lose market share. Even achieving the best result in winning customers from Heidelberg, it will be lucky to retain half the square meterage it once supplied. While Steve Venn has the backing of the corporate suits for his strategy, he is well aware of the risk. He feels though that he had no choice.

    “It’s about opportunity for us. We went into this with our eyes wide open. We want to be a complete solutions provider and we could not have that conversation with our customers while Heidelberg was in between,” he said.

    He identifies a number of reasons behind the decision to go direct to market.

    First is the restrictive pricing that inevitably follows from having an additional layer of distribution between the manufacturer and the customer. Heidelberg as distributor had to have a margin and in a competitive market that could only happen at the cost of gaining lower prices from Kodak.

    “This is a very tough business, everyone is fighting hard in the market and we found that to win contracts we had to give away more and more margin. It was unsustainable,” said Venn.

    More importantly, he believes the difficulty in having a constructive dialogue about Kodak’s other products with mainstream commercial printing companies was seriously compromising the company’s future.

    “We could not talk directly about our other offerings, about all the products and value we can bring to a customer’s businesses. It’s not just plates; it was never just about plates.

    “We are a full solutions provider. I don’t want the industry to see us as just a supplier of plates, but rather as a consistent quality partner here for the long-term to help maximise our customers’ opportunities.”

    Then there is the printing industry’s transition to digital in printing and in workflow. Venn believes Kodak is well-placed to be a major supplier for the new-age printing industry. It has first class digital presses, such as the NexPress and the Stream-powered high-speed inkjet web. Prinergy is as close as anyone has come to having an industry default workflow software and Kodak colour technology is as good as it gets.

    “We want to work with customers on their transition to digital. The industry is heading in that direction and we have some marvellous solutions to deliver.

    “It’s not that Heidelberg did a bad job with our plates, they didn’t. But in the four to five years the agreement was in place, things have changed substantially. It’s time we moved on,” said Venn.

    A mature technology

    Plate prices have halved in recent years and most industry sources maintain they still have some way to fall. Despite the steady introduction of new plates the technology is relatively mature with little opportunity to add value. Support comes from plate technicians when there is a problem on the press. This is the big selling point for Heidelberg, which claims its press expertise makes all the difference. According to Richard Timson, managing director, Heidelberg customers get more than a reliable source of plates, they get the benefit of the press manufacturer’s industry leading technical support. Of the company’s total complement of 140 in the region, 92 are service technicians, the largest cohort of any supplier. Even so, he is realistic about recognising that price is going to play a major role in the result.

    "A lot of clients will come out of this with better prices," Richard Timson, CEO.

    “No doubt there will be a bit of a squeeze. There is a price war as we try to retain our customers and Kodak does the same. A lot of clients will come out of this with better prices,” he said.

    “Everyone has virtually the same plate, what’s important is the consistency and reliability. We’ve had some issues with Kodak over the years, with two full recalls of product. That makes it difficult when you’re talking with customers.

    “Heidelberg brings a lot to the table in terms of CTP as well as Prinect workflow and colour capabilities. Last year we sold 13 Heidelberg CTPs to two Kodak [Kodak obviously sold many more on their own: ed.]. We have a wealth of experience that can fix issues on the press.

    “As for customers, there’s been a mixed response. We obviously lost Blue Star and Whirlwind who decided to stay with Kodak. These are large accounts, but we’ll have to see how it plays out in the wash-up. In the long run people will realise that we provide a very high level of support. That is real value.”

    Made in China

    There is a surprising Euro-centric preference in the market with a lingering mistrust of Chinese-manufactured plates. Despite all the majors having manufacturing plants in China and sourcing a deal of their products there, all are keen to play down the connection. Kodak and Fujifilm are both promoting the fact that they source plates from Europe rather than China. Timson recalls that when Heidelberg supplied a cheap Chinese plate at the customer’s request he refused to provide any run guarantees. The customer tried one delivery but then returned to more conventional product.

    Steve Venn acknowledges that there have been some issues with the company’s Trillion SP and Sonora XP plates out of China. He has assured customers that these plates, which are the two best sellers, will be sourced from Germany in the future. In addition he points to the two-year old Kodak worldwide quality improvement program focused on “maintaining plate quality, escalation process changes and the rapid implementation of solutions prior to developing in-market concerns”. While acknowledging that this pursuit of “perfect products” is an aspirational goal, he maintains it drives a culture encapsulated in the slogan “good enough is never good enough”.

    How much of the criticism of Chinese plates in the market is simply scare tactics from the major brands, afraid of letting the new suppliers gain a foothold, and how much is based on actual product technology difficulties is hard to say. According to Ian Martin, general manager Ferag, one of two suppliers of Xingraphics plates, there is no quality difference between Chinese and European plates. “We have had no difficulties in our five years in the market. Our customers are loyal and are able to gain a competitive edge with prices,” he said.

    Xingraphics is currently bringing a new thermal plate to the market, Primus Plus Hybrid, that Martin maintains will allow printers to reduce ink and water usage by up to 20 per cent. He stresses the reliability and quality of the plates. “They are the equal if not better than most in the market,” he said.

    Much of the plate supply industry is simply a question of logistics, of keeping a steady supply of reliable plates up to the customer without the printer having to retain too much stock. While newspapers are obviously huge users of plates, they demand a very responsive just-in-time supply chain. In recent times Kodak lost the major Fairfax account to Fujifilm, but such movements are rare so long as the supplier meets basic requirements.

    Apart from Heidelberg there are number of smaller plate suppliers with Currie Group being the largest with a long history of supplying Agfa plates. Tony Foley’s Seaga (see next page) retains a substantial Kodak customer base as well as a relationship with the manufacturer, and LithoTechnics in Perth, previously a Kodak distributor, has decided to stay with Heidelberg and is now supplying Fujfilm plates.

    Most of the heat and fury of the plate battles will have died down by the time you read this in July but the war is ongoing. Plate usage has held up remarkably well is the face of the digital onslaught with estimates of a five per cent drop over the past five years. It still represents a multi-million dollar business and keeps more than one technology supplier afloat. We have not yet heard the last of this contest.

  • New Kodak out to be aggressive market leader

    Steve Venn puts his competitors on notice that the revitalised imaging giant will be much more proactive in the market following Kodak’s successful emergence from Chapter 11.

    A revamped sales structure and growing confidence in the future of the imaging giant sets the scene for an intense battle for future graphic arts business. According to Steve Venn, regional strategic accounts and channel director of Kodak, the new energy in the company will translate into increased market activity as Kodak focuses on delivering new business solutions.

    “It’s exciting for everyone here at Kodak. We have reorganised our sales and territory management to offer a new structure to our customers,” said Venn.

    “It’s been a hard road over the past few years but our customers have stuck by us and we’re very grateful. Now we’re ready for the next stage. As the company tag line says, What’s Next Starts Now.”

    The upbeat assessment came as Kodak intends to continue investing in its Nexpress line, putting a major focus on the digital printing.

    “This side will continue to grow. There has been a positive impact in the Australian market with some thirty plus units sold in the country. We will continue to invest in the technology, which is a vital part of our graphic communications business. We have 700 patents in the commercial area and will look at further investing in them,” said Venn. 

    Kodak is in talks with Australia’s two largest newspaper corporations News Limited and Fairfax about the Prosper range of stream technology printers that area making their mark in China and Europe

    “The Prosper S20 has been beneficial to one of China’s largest media companies, The Shenzhen Press Group, while European media company Axel Springer is using the Prosper S30,” said Venn.

    Kodak successfully closed on its agreement for US$695 million in term exit financing, paid off its DIP (Debtor In Possession) lenders and second line noteholders. It completed its rights offerings, receiving approximately US$406 million of new equity investments from participating unsecured creditors.

    “We have been revitalised by our transformation and restructured to become a formidable competitor – leaner, with a strong capital structure, a healthy balance sheet. Kodak has the right technology as the printing markets transition to digital. Our broad portfolio of offset, hybrid and digital solutions enables customers to make the transition at their chosen pace using our breakthrough technology solutions,” said Kodak chairman and chief executive officer Antonio Perez.

    “We thank our employees for their extraordinary skills and commitment. We thank our suppliers for their dedication. We thank our customers and partners for their loyalty and for inspiring us to create disruptive technologies and breakthrough solutions,” Perez concluded.

  • Court backs Kodak’s return to the business ‘pantheon’

    Kodak is passing one of the final milestones required in its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, with the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, backing the once-iconic company’s Plan of Emergence.

    The Plan describes the company’s strategy to emerge from Chapter 11 restructuring as a technology leader serving commercial imaging markets. In confirming the Plan, the Court said: “It will be enormously valuable for the Company to get out of Chapter 11, and begin to regain its position in the pantheon of American business.”

    According to Kodak, the Plan also reflects its effective utilisation of the Chapter 11 process to achieve its key reorganization objectives, including successfully reducing legacy costs, liabilities and infrastructure, exiting or spinning off businesses and assets that were no longer core to its future, and focusing on the company’s most profitable business lines.

    “Today, the Court confirmed Kodak’s Plan of Reorganization. This critically important milestone marks the final step in the Court process,” said Antonio M. Perez (pictured), Kodak chairman and CEO.

    “Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader serving large and growing commercial imaging markets – such as commercial printing, packaging, functional printing and professional services – with a leaner structure and a stronger balance sheet,” said Perez. “There are additional transactional steps ahead as we complete our Chapter 11 restructuring, but with the Court’s decision today, our emergence is now imminent.”

    Kodak’s Plan of Reorganization will become effective upon emergence. The company is expected to finalize the remaining aspects of its reorganization, including closing its settlement with the Kodak Pension Plan, and emerge from Chapter 11 on 3 September.

  • One more year for Kodak chief after bankruptcy emergence

    Kodak chief, Antonio M. Perez, will hold on to the top job for up to a year following the company’s planned re-emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the USA, with the company claiming that continuity in leadership will help ensure the successful continuing transformation of the business into a global commercial print player.

    On 30 July, Kodak outlined its post-emergence executive leadership in supplemental filings to its bankruptcy emergence ‘Plan of Reorganization’ – with Perez retaining the CEO post he has held since 2005 for at least one year from emergence, or until the post-emergence board elects his successor.

    Perez (pictured) is also set to serve the reorganized company in a consulting capacity for up to another two years following the initial one-year term and as a member of the board. He started with Kodak as president, under former CEO, Daniel Carp, and became CEO himself within two years. It was under Perez that the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in January 2012.

    Since filing for bankruptcy, the New York state-based Kodak has eliminated health care benefits for its retirees and has shed itself of its digital camera and desktop printing product portfolios.

    According to Kodak, the new team will ensure continuity in the company’s leadership and has the expertise to continue the implementation of the company’s business transformation, which focuses on imaging innovation for business.

    Kodak expects to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of September – 3 September is the date tentatively put forward – with the company announcing in late June that it expected to pay back its secured creditors using its debt financing of US$895 million.

    The new equity investors have confirmed their acceptance of this management team, which is a condition to Kodak’s emergence equity plan.

    In its filings, the company named the following senior corporate and business unit executives:

    Antonio M. Perez: continues as CEO and will serve as a member of the board. Perez commits to serve the reorganized company for up to three years following the company’s emergence from Chapter 11. During his tenure as CEO, in addition to fulfilling his responsibilities as CEO, Perez will be actively involved with the Board in identifying the right successor with whom he will work closely to effect a seamless transition.

    Upon the appointment of his successor, Perez would resign from his position as CEO, and would then continue working closely with his successor and the board as a full-time special advisor to the board to effect a seamless transition and facilitate the continued realization of the company’s transformation for a period up to the first anniversary of the company’s emergence

    Douglas J. Edwards: remains in his role as President of Digital Printing and Enterprise. He was named to the post in September 2012, and elected a senior vice president in October 2012. 

    Brad W. Kruchten: continues to serve as president, Graphics, Entertainment & Commercial Films, which includes Prepress, Entertainment Imaging, Commercial Film and Global Consumables Manufacturing, a position he has held since 2011. The Graphics business includes renowned products such as Kodak Prinergy Workflow and Kodak Sonora Process Free Plates.

    Terry R. Taber: continues in his current post as chief technical officer, a position he has held since 2009. As CTO, he is responsible for the development of key technologies including those in functional printing.

    Eric H. Samuels: serves as controller, having been appointed corporate controller and chief accounting officer in July 2009.           

    Patrick M. Sheller: serves as the general counsel, secretary and chief administrative officer, positions he has held since 2012.

    “On behalf of the entire continuing management team, we appreciate the support of our new owners and look forward to the completion of Kodak’s successful restructuring, the confirmation of our Plan of Reorganization and our emergence from Chapter 11 later in the third quarter,” said Perez.

    These management arrangements are subject to certain conditions, including approval as part of confirmation of Kodak’s of ‘Plan of Reorganization’ and Kodak’s emergence from Chapter 11. The confirmation hearing on the ‘Plan of Reorganization’ is currently scheduled for August 20, 2013, with emergence expected during the third quarter.

  • Kodak secures $895m for creditor payback

    Kodak is readying to pay back its creditors when it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US following a deal with its financial backers that sees it receive debt financing of US$895 million with which to repay its outstanding debts to secured creditors.

    The company, which entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US in January 2012, announced on 20 June that it had reached a debt financing deal to be arranged by J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Barclays to arrange new post-emergence credit facilities of up to $895 million.

    In a statement, Kodak said:

    This comprehensive financing package will enable Kodak, at emergence, to repay its secured creditors under the current senior and junior Debtor-in-Possession loan facilities, finance its exit from Chapter 11, and meet the company’s post-emergence working capital and liquidity needs.

    The proposed term loan financing is expected to provide the company with more favorable terms compared to the existing rollover exit financing commitment.”

    Antonio M. Perez (pictured), Kodak’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “the new financing, combined with other recent significant milestones in our restructuring – including the rights offering, Amended Plan of Reorganization, and Eastman Business Park settlement – will position Kodak for a bright long-term future.”

    The financing agreements are subject to conditions, including, among others, approval by the Bankruptcy Court, completion of definitive financing documentation, and a successful syndication in the loan markets.

    On 18 June, the graphic arts company said its key creditors agreed to backstop a $406 million rights offering for common stock in the company upon its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    Kodak said it expected to use the proceeds of the rights offering to fund distributions under its revised ‘Plan of Reorganization’, including the repayment of its second lien creditors, who will no longer receive equity in the Plan.

    Kodak said the proposed rights offering permits it to offer its creditors up to 34,000,000 shares of common stock for the per share purchase price of $11.94, equivalent to approximately 85 per cent of the equity of Kodak upon emergence.

    “Attracting this additional funding is a strong vote of confidence in both Kodak’s Plan of Reorganization and in the actions we have taken during our restructuring to create a solid future for our company,” said Perez. “This agreement, which serves as a critical component of the capital structure for the emerging Kodak, positions us to comprehensively settle our obligations with our various key creditor constituencies.”

    In May, Kodak said it expected to emerge from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy by September this year, after reporting a consolidated profit of (US)$283 million for the first quarter of 2013, a figure, which stood in stark contrast to the $-366 million loss it recorded for the same period last year.

    When Kodak does eventually emerge from bankruptcy, it will be a very different beast from the globally-recognised multinational leviathan it was prior to its filing for bankruptcy last year.

    Not only is the company now a much smaller operation than before, it will be primarily focused on its commercial print technology, severing most of its ties with the product range that made it famous, including film, cameras and other personal imaging technology.

  • Next-gen Kodak plates give printers sustainable edge

    Kodak and Heidelberg are giving local printers the ability to keep up their platemaking capacity without sacrificing their sustainability, following the release of the new generation Sonora XP process-free plates.

    The new Kodak plates, which are being distributed locally through Heidelberg ANZ, represent the next generation in Kodak’s platemaking technology, which removes the necessity of chemical processing, speeding up the platemaking process, while maintaining high-quality contrast.

    While the new generation plates were first introduced commercially in April, Heidelberg announced on 30 May its launch of the product in the local market.

    According to John Hatzimanolis, marketing manager of Kodak Australia, the new plates allow printers to have their cake and eat it too – doing away with the chemical process while providing faster and sharper images than many other plates in the market.

    “The main benefit from the improved process-free plate is that it maintains the same good points of thermal direct plates, but it’s got faster imaging and stronger plate image contrast, among other things,” says Hatzimanolis. “Our hope is that the end user benefits from a combination f all the new features, reaping excellent print quality and running a sustainable organisation where they no longer have to make the choice between profitability or their sustainability.”

    Kevin Birch, Heidelberg product Manager – Consumables, says the new generation of process free Sonora XP plates has been popular with customers around the world.

    “We’ve been getting tremendous feedback on the high productivity rates, improved sharpness of the print and the cost savings that customers can realise with the new generation Sonora XP process free plates,” he says.

    For Greg Howse, Victoria’s Signs Publishing pre-press manager, the fewer processes allow a much faster throughput of work.

    “We’ve been able to halve our exposure time with the new generation Sonora XP plates and that’s made a dramatic difference to the workflow,” says Howse. “We’ve literally doubled our output. In addition to the productivity benefits, using the process free Sonora XP plates also means we don’t have to worry about having to clean up chemicals or the related maintenance issues of a wet processing environment. As a result we are very happy with the Sonora XP Process Free Plates”.

    Birch backs up Hatzimanolis’ claim, saying that the new generation Sonora XP plates are based on technology that gives customers the ability move to a process free platform and benefit from the productivity and environmental gains.

    “Everyone is looking to produce work more profitably and the Sonora XP Process Free Plates enable print service providers to ensure quality, and at the same time remove a whole lot of processes and costs from the production chain,” he says. “Removing the need to purchase and dispose of chemicals, reducing water usage and also energy consumption, can deliver immediate savings and reduce your environmental footprint.

    “From a quality perspective the Sonora XP process free plate removes the variables associated with chemical processing and delivers great resolution and sharper print. All round the new generation Sonora XP Process Free Plates is a great, versatile solution that is compatible with all press types,” he says.

  • Kodak goes for gold at PacPrint

    Kodak is demonstrating its highly anticipated Gold Dry Inks on a Kodak NexPress SX2700 Digital Colour Press, along with the brand new Prinergy 6 workflow system at its PacPrint stand #1818 this week in Melbourne.

    The Kodak Gold Dry inks are the newest feature for the NexPress’ Fifth Imaging Unit, and they deliver a gold metallic, sparkle effect using a gold-tinted Dry Ink.

    The Gold Dry Ink enables a broad range of applications such as direct mail, certificates, photographs and tickets among other high-value products.

    NexPress users can create different variations of gold-toned tints or different effects by putting combinations of process colours underneath the gold further expanding the creative options and value adding.

    The Gold Dry Ink product is an important member of a growing family of special effect inks for the Kodak NexPress series of digital printers. Users can now get their hands on a dizzying array of different inks and special effect coatings, including Red Fluorescing – which illuminates under ultraviolet light, Gloss/Spot Gloss, Protective Coating/Watermark, Dimensional Printing – giving a raised or 3D effect, MICR security magnetic ink for items like cheques, and an additional red green and blue dry ink for an extended colour gamut.

    Kodak is also demonstrate the next generation in its award-winning workflow solution, Kodak Prinergy 6, this week at PacPrint. The new system brings automation and integration from print production into the manufacturing process.

    Integrated with the new Kodak Preps Imposition 7 Software and Kodak ColorFlow Software 2, Kodak’s workflow portfolio removes costs and increases efficiencies across the entire print value chain.

    On stand 1818 at PacPrint13 this week, Kodak’s product experts and partners will be available to discuss the company’s portfolio and look forward to welcoming visitors throughout the five days of the Show.

  • Steve Venn back in the saddle at Kodak

    Steve Venn (pictured), Kodak Australasia’s former managing director is stepping back into the role he vacated in 2010, with current MD Adrian Fleming set to become the company’s general manager of Digital Printing, Asia Pacific Region – a new regional role within Kodak.

    The changeover is set to kick off on 1 May, with Kodak indicating that Venn’s re-appointment could open the gates for an additional appointment to be made to manage the regional channel in the ‘near future’.

    According to Kodak Australasia, Fleming’s appointment as the new general manager of Digital Printing, Asia Pacific Region is a response to the company’s growth of its digital business in the region. Fleming’s expertise in the digital market segment positions him well to take the role.

    “This is a great opportunity for the company and for me personally. The digital print market is extremely dynamic in the Asia Pacific region and I am enthusiastic about working with customers to help grow this segment,” says Fleming. “Kodak has a range of leading edge solutions that can assist customers to work more efficiently and more profitably. I look forward to the challenge of working across the diverse markets of this region.”

    Fleming will remain based in Australia for the time being, in part to assure a smooth transition for local customers.

    “Australia is an important market for Kodak and I want to take this opportunity to assure our customers that the continuity of our service and commitment will be unaltered,” he says. “Having Steve step back in as managing director is a true benefit to the business and to our customers.”

    Venn, who took up the position of director of strategic account management and channels for the Asia Pacific Region in 2010, will continue to oversee Kodak’s strategic accounts across the region until a new appointment can be made to manage the regional channel.

    “I’ve learned a great deal working in the Asian markets and look forward to sharing this knowledge with our customers,” says Venn. “We’ve got a terrific team of highly committed people in Australia and I am keen to explore the opportunities in the market to create sustainable solutions for us all.”

  • Kodak picks up speed and cash ahead of its Chapter 11 exit

    A $210 million sale of Kodak’s Document Imaging division to Brother sharpens the definition of the company as a graphic arts manufacturer when it emerges from bankruptcy protection in the middle of the year.

    The sale, which has yet to be approved by the court, will enhance Kodak’s focus on its core commercial imaging business as it shakes off a decade of change and losses. It is part of a strategy to reshape the iconic brand as a B2B enterprise centred on commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions.

    Flagged for sale early in the year, the Document Imaging division represents approximately 10 per cent of Kodak Australia’s $100 million annual revenue. According to Adrian Flemming, managing director, there are no surprises in the announcement. “We’ve been working towards getting Document Services ready for sale since it was announced in January. Most business is done through distributors so there are relatively low numbers of employees involved,” he said.

    In recent months Kodak sold off $527 million digital imaging patents as part of its transformation process. In addition to the printing businesses Kodak continues to own and operate consumer inkjet, entertainment imaging, commercial film and specialty chemicals businesses. It is currently in the process of selling its personalised imaging business.

    'No surprises' … Adrian Fleming, managing director, Kodak Australia

    The Document Imaging business comprises of a range of scanners, capture software and services Kodak sells to enterprise customers. Brother is a leading global manufacturer of laser, label and multi-function printers, as well as fax machines and sewing machines.

    “This proposed sale is another key step in Kodak’s path to emergence – it moves us closer to realizing our strategic vision for Kodak’s future,” said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “A sale to Brother, should they prevail, would represent an excellent outcome for Document Imaging’s customers, partners and employees.”

    “Document Imaging has many differentiating strengths, including an outstanding global customer base, award-winning software and hardware solutions, strategic reseller partners and a comprehensive service and support network,” Perez said.

    Dolores Kruchten, President of Document Imaging, said that Kodak will work throughout the sale process to ensure a smooth transition for customers.

    “We are pleased that under this agreement with Brother, Document Imaging will continue to strengthen its position as a leader of information capture and management solutions for enterprise customers,” said Kruchten. “Our valued customers will receive the highest quality products, world-class customer service and reseller support that have been the hallmarks of our business.”

  • Print21 leads worldwide release of Kodak Gold Dry Ink

    The first issue of Print21 magazine for 2013, which hit letterboxes in late February, is leading the global print pack in the latest print technology stakes, with its cover featuring Kodak’s as-yet-unreleased Gold Dry Ink.

    As the first magazine in Australia – and one of the first in the world – to feature the brand new gold ink on its front and back cover, this issue of Print21 is spearheading the global up-take of the new Kodak NexPress ink range.

    With the ink’s global release date set for June 2013, the covers of this issue of Print21 had to be flown to Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, New York, to be printed with the new gold standard in the company’s NexPress range – a challenge that was more than made up for in the impressively eye-catching final result on the cover.

    “Our cover image was specially selected to highlight the creative possibilities of the gold ink,” says Patrick Howard, Print21’s publisher. “The pigments in the Gold Dry Ink produce a sparkle effect that is similar to that achieved with offset metallic inks. The Gold solution follows the pattern already set by Kodak with its dimensional printing effect, utilizing the Fifth Imaging Unit of the press to add decorative or tactile layers to the CMYK inks.”

    The Gold Dry Ink product is an important member of a growing family of special effect inks for the Kodak NexPress series of digital printers. Users can now get their hands on a dizzying array of different inks and special effect coatings, including Red Fluorescing – which illuminates under ultraviolet light, Gloss/Spot Gloss, Protective Coating/Watermark, Dimensional Printing – giving a raised or 3D effect, MICR security magnetic ink for items like cheques, and an additional red green and blue dry ink for an extended colour gamut.

    As for the gold ink, it was a development for the Fifth Imaging Unit that was a long time coming, with customers around the world eagerly anticipating the release of the new golden tone.

    “There is a lot of research and development that goes into it, and exhaustive testing,” says Darren Yeates, business manager for Digital Print Solutions for Kodak Australia. “We showed the ink at drupa 2012 and it’s taken this long to get it into market. Kodak took a lot of their market research from the show, where the gold ink was first really showcased. It’s a bit early to say where it will be used most, but obviously it will be popular for items like book covers.

    “Part of the reason why the gold ink is coming to market first is that Kodak determined that was the most popular colour with the customer base. Second would be the Pearlescent ink, with which you can use a CMYK build and add the ink to the top, followed by the neon pink, the highlighter,” he says.

    Given the ever-increasing range of special inks and effects for the Fifth Imaging Unit, NexPress users out there have the growing capacity to include special features in their work that may have previously required the use of additional equipment – an ability that will enable plenty of printers to stand out from the crowd, according to Yeates.

    For generations, gold-trimmed Venetian masks, like the one featured on the front cover of this issue, were designed to provide their wearers with anonymity among the crowds of Venice. Even today, during the canal city’s annual Carnivale celebrations, the masks still retain some of their past purpose.

    In contrast to the gold trimming featured on this cover’s Venetian mask, however, Kodak’s new gold ink is designed to make printers and their customers stand out from the crowd, to be easily recognised among the others in the sector.

    Of course, when printers get their hands on the new gold ink, they really are going to be able to literally shine – or at least their work will. According to Kodak, the gold ink, with its sparkle effect, is ideal for specialty jobs like book covers, dust jackets, direct mail, marketing collateral, certificates, tickets and short run magazine covers. It can also take on a variety of additional tones and hues through the application of process colours on the media beneath it, just like adding different metals to real gold to attain a whole spectrum of colours.

    Like the alchemists of yesteryear, forever searching for the philosopher’s stone in their quest to turn lead into gold, Kodak has taken the NexPress and used it as a catalyst to create a golden touch out of ink and paper. For Robert Mollee, Kodak Ausralia’s sales and strategic product group director, this ability – driven by the Fifth Imaging Unit’s capabilities – gives the machine the golden lure of possibility for printers wanting to provide a unique offering to their customers.

    “We like to think that the NexPress is a shining light against the competition,” says Mollee. Now, with the new Gold dry ink set to hit the market in June, Kodak is turning up the power on the NexPress spotlight.

    Given that gold’s elemental symbol on the periodic table is Au – from the Latin word ‘aurum,’ meaning ‘glowing dawn’ according to some translations, Kodak looks set to illuminate the NexPress with its new golden addition, and offer printers a ‘glowing dawn’ of new possibility.

  • Kodak launches the Prosper 5000XLi Press

    Kodak Announced the launch of its Prosper 5000XLi Press, the latest family addition to its popular Prosper digital press platform, on 11 February at the Hunkeler Innovationdays industry event in Lucerne, Switzerland.

    The new Prosper 5000XLi combines the field-proven performance of the PROSPER Press Platform with new press management technology that constantly monitors and adjusts settings to ensure the highest quality output.

    At the core of the new press is the Intelligent Print System (IPS), which is designed to process thousands of press inputs that measure imaging performance, detecting variations and making adjustments as needed on the fly. With IPS, the PROSPER 5000XLi Press continuously learns from the input and calculates imaging improvements to deliver measurably higher levels of print quality with industry-leading productivity. This improvement is achieved regardless of varying substrates, image content, web speed, and environmental conditions.

    The PROSPER 5000XLi Press features the fastest, most accurate writing engine on the market. Kodak’s newly formulated nano-particulate pigment inks are matched to the PROSPER 5000XLi Press’s writing system, offering greater durability on coated papers and a color gamut up to 30 percent wider than offset printing. To help ensure crisp, readable output, the press also features a new text enhancement feature.

    Mercury Print, a Rochester, N.Y.-based early adopter of inkjet printing for commercial and book printing applications, has been beta testing the new device.

    “At Mercury Print we strive to deliver products and services that exceed customer expectations and offer outstanding value,” noted Christian Schamberger, President, Mercury Print Productions. “Kodak’s PROSPER 5000XLi Press helps us do just that by providing superior quality, productivity and cost savings every day. This is a press to build and grow a business with.”

    The Intelligent Print System on the PROSPER 5000XLi Press combines in-line video monitoring and advanced software controls to enable real-time adjustments that refine and optimize output color quality. The IPS adds value by tracking and evaluating pages and then making adjustments as needed to the more than 100,000 inkjet nozzles in each system. It includes:

    · an in-line camera system to monitor color-to-color and front-to-back registration

    · automatic or user-selectable stitch adjustments to align printheads and optimize quality

    · multi-parameter monitoring and dynamic adjustment of cross-track, in-track, magnification, and skew performance

    “The PROSPER Press Platform is a high-performance solution for a range of digital printing applications, such as direct marketing, commercial print, and publishing,” said Kodak’s Will Mansfield, Director of Marketing, Inkjet Printing Solutions. “The high speeds and large volumes these presses offer make it more important than ever to ensure the highest performance and quality throughout the print run. Automatic monitoring and on-the-fly adjustment of printing parameters do just that—enabling printers to achieve very high image quality and excellent color-to-color registration on a wide range of media, including glossy.”

    To further maximize uptime and the production of sellable pages, the PROSPER 5000XLi Press features a number of innovations in its transport system that virtually eliminate page imperfections caused by paper stretching and wrinkling. The key advancements include an adaptive web stretch control system that uses advanced servo rollers and software algorithms to make automatic adjustments, as well as select rollers that have ribs and other advanced design features to minimize wrinkling. Additionally, user-adjustable nip settings in four locations help to smooth paper flow and ease press set-up.

    In addition to the new capabilities provided by IPS, the PROSPER 5000XLi Press was engineered and built with a range of other features to optimize print speed, ensure smooth operation, and maximize productivity. These include an auto-adjusting intake system that simplifies changing paper stocks, a variable-length paper path to improve drying, and an advanced drying system that adjusts for ink load, web speed, and substrate.

    “Our engineers are constantly working to improve every aspect of the printing process, and managing the media handling is a big part of that. Customers will see new revenue opportunities from the higher image quality and broader substrate support, while increasing profits with less waste and greater throughput. The PROSPER Press Platform is delivering billions of pages today, and with the latest enhancements, the PROSPER 5000XLi Press is poised to meet the needs of printers as they grow and expand their business,” added Mansfield.

    Helping users further extend substrate options, the in-line KODAK PROSPER Image Optimizer Station (IOS ) automatically prepares commercially available substrates for inkjet printing at full press speeds, enabling users to run industry-standard uncoated, coated—and even glossy coated—papers between 45-300 gsm on roll widths from 8 to 25.5 inches (20.3-64.8 cm).

    The PROSPER 5000XLi Press offers full process color perfecting with a print width of up to 24.5 inches (62.23 centimeters) at speeds up to 650 feet (200 meters) per minute with a duty cycle of 90 million A4 or US letter pages a month. The system is capable of print quality that rivals offset output—up to 175 lpi.

    The PROSPER 5000XLi Press is commercially available today [11 February 2013]. As Kodak has traditionally provided upgrade paths for its presses, the PROSPER 5000XL Press is upgradeable to the XLi, thereby protecting current customer investments.

  • Kodak sell-off – over 1,100 patents up for grabs

    Kodak has started the ball rolling for the sell-off of its dedicated capture device business and technology, with the company this week seeking approval for the sale of over 1,100 patents in its ongoing effort to recover from its bankruptcy in the US earlier this year.

    On June 11, Kodak filed a motion seeking approval of bidding procedures for the bankruptcy auction of its Digital Capture and Kodak Imaging Systems and Services (KISS) patent portfolios. These portfolios comprise over 1,100 patents that are necessary for the capture, manipulation, and sharing of digital images.

    The sale of Kodak’s ailing digital capture business and the associated technology is part of a continued push for the company to focus on its more profitable businesses, including its commercial segment which produces machinery and equipment for the graphic arts and printing industry.

    The company, along with its financial advisor, Lazard, has conducted an extensive marketing process for these assets over the past 12 months, and claims that 20 interested parties have already signed confidentiality agreements regarding the sale of its technology. Following bidding procedures approval, the company will mount a sales process open to all qualified bidders.

    “The proposed structure of the auction is tailored to the special nature of the assets,” says Kodak’s vice president and chief intellectual property officer, Timothy M. Lynch (pictured). “The bidding procedures are designed to allow bidders to give us their best offers without fear of showing their cards to competitors.”

    Of the two portfolios up for sale, the Digital Capture business contains the majority of the technology, with over 700 patents including key aspects of digital image capture, processing and transmission technologies that are integral to the design and operation of digital camera and multi-function devices.

    The company has previously said that once it completely phases out these two portfolios from its overall business, it expects to achieve annual operational savings of over US$100 million, helping the company to bounce back after January’s bankruptcy filing.

    Kodak expects the motion to approve bidding procedures to be heard by the court on July 2 with the auction to be held in early August, and the winning bidder to be announced by August 13.

    “We are moving ahead as quickly as possible with the process of monetizing our digital imaging patent portfolio,” says Lynch.