Kodak announces settlement with U.K. Pension Plan

Posted at: 04/29/2013 8:25 AM
Updated at: 04/29/2013 5:34 PM
By: Ray Levato

Kodak is announcing a surprising settlement that it says will help the company emerge from bankruptcy this year.  The company plans to sell two more parts of its business to a British pension plan group. That move will settle the pension claims from Kodak retirees in the United Kingdom.

The deal gives Kodak $650 million to help the company exit bankruptcy. Kodak will sell their personalized imaging and document imaging businesses. Both are headquartered in Rochester. Worldwide, that's about 3,200 jobs. Those people will now work for the British company. Kodak is not saying how many local employees will change companies, but they did say the number is significant.

This isn't the first time Kodak has sold off a local business and gotten smaller. Kodak sold its health imaging and space imaging businesses to Carestream and ITT.

Right now, Kodak employs about 3,500 people in Rochester. George Conboy at Brighton Securities told News10NBC what this sale means.

George Conboy, Brighton Securities, said, “For Kodak, the deal is a little bit like this. I owe you money. I can't afford to pay. I offer to give you my brand new car. You'll give me back a couple thousand dollars in exchange.”

News10NBC spoke Ron Perry, who worked for Kodak for 34 years. We spoke with him outside Kodak Building 28 where he still uses the gym. He's been retired from the company for five years and thinks the British retiree group is getting a bad deal.

Ron Perry said, “When I heard the pension plan, I did get worried until I found out it was the U.K. pension plan because I would not want the U.S. pension plan owning any Kodak company. That to me is way too risky. And If I was a U.K. pension plan participant, I'd be asking how is it that we got such a good deal? They paid $650 million and they forgave $3 billion that was owed in the pension plan.”

Kodak's personalized imaging business includes consumer film, photo kiosks, photographic paper and its theme park souvenir photo operation. The document imaging business allows customers to manage information from electronic and paper documents, that includes scanners, software and professional services.

Kodak says the U.K. pension plan has given a one year commitment to keeping the jobs in Rochester.

Click here to read the full news release