Kodak Corporate Business Strong in Asia Amid U.S. Bankruptcy Filing

While the brand Kodak has been the standard in photography for decades, this company that invented the digital camera 40 years ago is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. But even so, Kodak says its business remains strong in the Asia Pacific region, as its business focuses on corporate clients.

Boxes of Kodak 35mm film are shown against a box of Kodak inkjet paper for an illustration in this file photo. Kodak is preparing for a Chapter 11 filing should it fail to sell a trove of 1,100 digital-imaging patents. Its Asia-Pacific executives say that business is still strong in the region, though. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Evandro Matteucci, vice president for Asia Pacific commercial and consumer business, says Kodak is no longer just a photo company. “We are more than just a photo company … Over the years, we have transformed ourselves to become an imaging company,” he says.

Matteucci says Kodak’s camera business makes up just 3% of its Asia-Pacific business, and the corporate restructuring in the Americas is largely misunderstood. Kodak will no longer produce and market digital cameras once the restructuring goes through. However, bulk of its APAC revenue is derived from its commercial businesses, which include imaging and printing.

Kodak’s Asia-Pacific market is a US$ 1 billion business for the company, which achieved a net sales of US$ 7 billion as of end 2010.

Kodak will still be “present in your day to day life,” says Matteucci, in an interview with Malaysia’s StarBizWeek.

The newspaper that you read in the morning could be printed with Kodak technology. We manufacture aluminium plates used in the printing industry. In the supermarket, there’s also a high chance that products labels are printed with our technology. Or even books. We print books as well. When you go to a bank, there’s high chances your bank or credit card statement is printed with Kodak technology. Lottery tickets are done with Kodak technology.

Kodak also cites its technology for custom-printing of newspapers. In Malta, for instance, tourists could request their preferred newspaper, which is transmitted via PDF and printed using Kodak’s technology using the same machine for different publications.

The company does not want to publicize its corporate clientele, though, due to confidentiality agreements, and the sensitive nature of this business. However, what remains clear is that Kodak is not just about cameras or photography, but imaging in general.

Matteucci wants to stress that its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the U.S. will mean that the company will be able to bolster its liquidity by monetizing assets like intellectual property, and resolve its liabilities, in an attempt to be profitable again. It’s not similar to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means liquidating the entire company and assets to pay off creditors.

The executive says there is no need to reorganize its business in Asia. “We have a solid footprint in Asia with over 4,000 employees, six manufacturing plants, three research and centres and a presence in 13 countries,” he adds. As such, Asians are likely to continue enjoying “Kodak moments,” although we might not necessarily know it.