Eastman Kodak Co announced a new business structure on Tuesday that eliminates its film group as the once-iconic photography company tries to refocus as a digital company to help fend off financial difficulties.
Its shares jumped after the news and were up 58 percent to 63 cents in early afternoon.
The company will create two business segments out of the current three. Phillip Faraci will head the commercial segment, while Laura Quatela will head the consumer segment. Both executives will have the title of co-president and chief operating officer and will report to Chairman and Chief Executive Antonio Perez.
Kodak said it will make changes to its financial reporting starting in the first quarter to reflect the new structure. It also said that it expects the design to reduce costs and increase productivity.
One analyst was skeptical about the move.
Supposedly they believe that it will achieve some level of productivity and cost reductions that will be additive to profitability. But in the absence of any detail as to how much benefit these actions will eventually yield, it's tough to say if this is a meaningful announcement or not, said Amer Tiwana, a senior analyst and managing director at CRT Capital Group.
The news comes as the company has been trying to raise cash either through new financing or an asset sale.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Kodak was preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing in case it was unable to sell its digital patents to raise capital. A Kodak spokesman declined to comment on the possibility of bankruptcy.
Kodak has been trying to get new financing to enable it to keep operating as it continues to lose money on its new businesses. In addition to trying to raise debt, the company hired Lazard Ltd in July to sell a patent portfolio, which it said would give it the cash it needs.
It has hired FTI Consulting to help with restructuring and also has hired restructuring lawyers. The company has been under public pressure since September, when it drew cash from a credit line, tipping investors off to liquidity issues.
The company also lost three board members at the end of December. Last week, Kodak warned investors it might be kicked off the New York Stock Exchange if it could not boost its share price over the next six months.
Under the business structure changes, which were effective at the beginning of the year, the company's commercial and consumer segments are absorbing the businesses that now sit in the Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment group. That group is being phased out and its head will move over to the newly named commercial business.
The Commercial Segment will include the graphic communications group, as well as take on the entertainment imaging and commercial film businesses.
The consumer business will include the consumer digital imaging group as well as businesses from the old film and photofinishing unit including paper and output systems, event imaging solutions and the consumer film and intellectual property business.
(Reporting By Caroline Humer, Tom Hals and Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman)