Kodak Proposes Bankruptcy Exit With Equity Swap for Debt

Eastman Kodak Co. (EKDKQ), the bankrupt photography pioneer, offered to swap $2.7 billion of unsecured debt for shares in a new company under a plan to exit court protection.

The proposal, filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, follows an agreement announced this week with Kodak’s U.K. pension plan under which the Rochester, New York-based company agreed to spin off its personalized- and document- imaging businesses for $650 million and settle $2.8 billion of claims.

“We now have a clear path forward for Kodak,” Antonio Perez, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement yesterday issued by Business Wire. “We are positioning the company for a profitable and sustainable future.”

Kodak filed for bankruptcy last year and is reorganizing around its commercial imaging business. It said it expects to emerge from bankruptcy in the third quarter.

Under the reorganization plan, current shareholders will be wiped out, while priority claim holders, secured claim holders and second-lien creditors, with combined claims of $424 million, will receive a full recovery, according to the filing. General unsecured creditors, with claims of $2.7 billion, will get stock. Kodak didn’t specify their recovery except to say it will be “better than liquidation.”

The proposed reorganization plan must be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper, who is overseeing the case. A hearing will probably occur in mid-June, Kodak said, with a vote by creditors on the proposal to follow.

The bankruptcy case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net

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