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A New Kodak Emerges

Rochester, N.Y. Its a new era for the Eastman Kodak company.

On Tuesday, the company emerged from Chapter 11about 20 months after it first filed for bankruptcy.

CEO Antonio Perez said it was a difficult decision to file for bankruptcy but maintains it was the right thing to do.

We have been revitalized by our transformation and restructured to become a
formidable competitor leaner, with a strong capital structure, a healthy balance sheet, and the industrys best technology, Perez said.

Kodak film and cameras are now a thing of the past. The company will now focus on packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services.

The average consumer will no longer see Kodak products or the Kodak logo on the shelves. The company will now deal directly with businesses.

Financial advisor Chuck LaRocco of the Commonwealth Financial Group in Webster says that this bankruptcy process has given Kodak a new start and a chance to succeed as a new company. However, he warns Kodak has its work cut out for it.

They have some uphill battles because one out of every five companies that have come out bankruptcy have ended back in Chapter 11 in five years, so it's not just an automatic they can just get back on their feet and go, LaRocco said. They are really going to have to really work at this.

There are some who have confidence in the new Kodak.

John Place, the CEO if Mercury Print Productions, says his commercial printing company in Rochester already uses Kodak inkjet technology.

In fact, Kodak often sends potential clients to Mercury to show off its stream inkjet printer.

Place says there is a demand for such technology as commercial printers are looking for ways to expand their businesses. Compared to traditional toner printers, inkjet printers are quicker and cost less to operate.

Mercury prints textbooks for clients all over the country. What used to take ten days to print now takes only five using the Kodak stream inkjet printer.

It is a growth market, Place explains. The inkjet press brings a whole another market for printers. It gives us opportunities to get into other markets and being able to print on an inkjet press give us a lot more different applications. The drip on demand process which Kodak useswe felt the quality was just going to get better and better.

Perez also commented that Kodaks focus on this sector of the printing industry comes at the right time.

We are setting a trajectory for profitable growth, Perez said. We have the right
technology at the right time as printing markets increasingly 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.

LaRocco believes Kodak also has what it need to succeed in this market. He says the talent and technology is there, however, he warns that Kodak must keep up with or beat other competitors in the market like HP and Xerox. Also, he believes the company must do better at marketing itself.

The marketing has been really weak and other companies have been able to capitalize on Kodak even though Kodak has been the first to come out with technology, he said. They lack the marketing of what they are selling.

Since Kodak is essentially a new company, the old stock is now worthless. LaRocco recommends stockholders to talk to their financial advisors writing it off on your taxes so that some of the losses can be recouped.

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Washington Times