Once synonymous with ‘Kodak Moments’, photography pioneer Eastman Kodak Company has filed for bankruptcy protection to re-organise its businesses so it can survive intense competition.

In existence for over 130 years, Kodak has many firsts to its credit, including the invention of cameras as well as the use of its technology for taking the initial photographs of the moon’s surface.

Kodak and its US subsidiaries has filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 business reorganisation in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the company said in a statement.

The company has obtained a lifeline of USD 950 million from Citigroup Inc and expects to emerge from the restructuring in 2013 as a lean, profitable, digital imaging and materials science company.

It further said its subsidiaries outside the US are not subject to the court proceedings.

“After considering the advantages of Chapter 11 at this time, the board of directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak,” Chairman and CEO Antonio M Perez said in a statement.

“Our goal is to maximise value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors and pension trustees. We are also committed to working with our valued customers,” he added.

The firm has been struggling to keep afloat and had already exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs and reducing its workforce by 47,000 since 2003.

Kodak expects that business reorganisation would bolster its liquidity in the US and abroad, monetise non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities and enable the company to focus on its most valuable business lines.

It has made pioneering investments in digital and materials deposition technologies in recent years, generating about 75 per cent of its revenue from digital businesses in 2011.

The company said it has taken this step after preliminary discussions with key constituencies and intends to work toward a consensual reorganisation in the best interests of its stakeholders.

The company and its board of directors are being advised by Lazard, FTI Consulting Inc and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP on the bankruptcy protection. In addition, Kodak named Dominic Di Napoli, a Vice Chairman at FTI Consulting Inc, as its Chief Restructuring Officer to help steer the company through bankruptcy court.

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