Rochester, NY—Eastman Kodak shares tumbled on Friday, September 30, following fears that the photography giant was headed toward bankruptcy.
Kodak shares, which had stood at $2.38 at the beginning of the week, dropped 91 cents, or 54%, to close at 78 cents per share. The selling was so intense during Friday’s regular session that the company’s shares temporarily stopped trading under the New York Stock Exchange’s automated controls. At one point, Kodak’s stock sagged to a new low of just 54 cents.
In a statement on their website, Kodak remained adamant they have no intention of filing for bankruptcy. The statement noted, “Kodak is committed to meeting all of its obligations and has no intention of filing for bankruptcy. The company also continues to actively pursue its previously announced strategy to monetize its digital imaging patent portfolio. Kodak remains focused on meeting its commitments to customers and suppliers, and on delivering on its strategy to become a profitable, sustainable digital company.”
The speculation intensified when it was revealed that Kodak had hired Jones Day, a well-known law firm known for dispensing advice on bankruptcy issues. Kodak responded by stating, “It is not unusual for a company in transformation to explore all options and to engage a variety of outside advisers, including financial and legal advisers. Jones Day is one of a number of advisers that Kodak is working with in that regard.”
According to CNN.com, Dave Novosel, an analyst with Gimme Credit, an independent fixed-income research firm in Chicago, said Kodak’s consumer and commercial printer business should start generating strong sales and profits from new products in the latter half of 2012 and early 2013. However, Wall Street analysts are predicting that Kodak will report a net loss of $638 million this year and another $215 million in red ink for 2012.
“The drawdown indicates to me that their financial flexibility is more limited than people had thought just a month ago,” Novosel said. “The fourth quarter is usually their best quarter.”
Kodak’s saving grace may be their patents and intellectual property. They announced recently that they are exploring the sale of more than 1,100 patents tied to digital imaging. kodak.com