Kodak Said to Arrange Financing for Bankruptcy Emergence
Eastman Kodak Co., the bankrupt photography pioneer, arranged $793 million in financing from some creditors to exit bankruptcy as a commercial-printing company, said a person familiar with the negotiations.
Centerbridge Capital Partners, GSO Capital Partners, UBS AG (UBSN) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) are among second-lien creditors participating in the financing, said the person, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private. The agreement requires court approval.
Funding is conditional on selling its patent portfolio for at least $500 million, progress in the sale of two business units and the resolution of the company’s U.K. pension obligations, the person said. Rochester, New York-based Kodak has announced almost 4,000 job cuts this year as it restructures. Chris Veronda, a Kodak spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a call for comment on an agreement.
Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez has been selling businesses to help fund a turnaround after seeking Chapter 11 protection in January. The company, which plans to exit bankruptcy in the first half of 2013, is selling its consumer- film, photo-kiosk and commercial-scanner businesses; continuing an extended effort to auction its digital-imaging patents; and shuttering its consumer inkjet printer sales.
Another group of second-lien creditors had competed to provide the funding, which is made up of term loans for the bankrupt company, including as much as $567 million that can be converted to exit financing if conditions are met, the person said. The financing was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
A group of second-lien noteholders said in a court filing today that they have lost faith in management, claiming the company’s ability to successfully restructure and exit bankruptcy has been jeopardized.
Kodak is suffering operating losses and burning cash at “an astounding rate” and will probably run out of money in the first half of 2013 without new financing, the creditor group said in the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.
“The second-lien parties have lost all faith in the ability of the debtors’ current leadership to lead the debtors’ restructuring efforts or, in fact, to lead the debtors at all,” the group said.
The noteholders oppose Kodak’s request for an extension of its exclusive right to file a reorganization plan in court. They said they can propose a plan for the company that will win court approval.
Stefanie Goodsell, a Kodak spokeswoman, said the objection was from a “minority group” of noteholders and wasn’t unexpected.
“Our motion to extend exclusivity has the support of other creditors, and we are confident that this objection will not impact our timeline for emergence,” she said in an e-mailed statement
Kodak filed for bankruptcy after years of burning through cash while the rise of digital photography eroded its film business. The company spent $3.4 billion on restructuring before bankruptcy, including payouts to fire 47,000 employees since 2003, while closing 13 factories that produced film, paper and chemicals, and 130 photo laboratories.