Kodak issues panic warning over digital camera sales slump

Kodak warns that its outlook is weak, and that it may struggle to fund new business ventures if it cannot sell of its debt, or reap the rewards from its patent portfolio.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Kodak said today that its third-quarter loss widened further to $222 million, after sales in its digital cameras and film slumped to record lows.

The Rochester, New York-based ended Q3 with just shy of 10 percent less cash than the previous quarter, as the 131-year-old company struggles to transform its business into a digital printing-equipment enterprise.

Kodak, this time last year, had $1.4 billion in cash, yet now settles at just $862 million, as the company continues to haemorrhage cash and equivalents.

Kodak's revenue fell 17 percent to $1.46 billion from $1.76 billion a year ago.

But the company warned that it would not be able to fund new business ventures it if can't either raise funds by selling off its debt, or rinsing money from others from its broad-ranging patent portfolio.

Kodak seeks to sell over 1,100 patents, thought to be worth as much as $2 to $3 billion. Since 2008, Kodak has generated nearly $2 billion in royalties and licensing fees from key patents it retains.

It had hoped that intellectual property lawsuits could have made way to generate revenue; a strategy that has seen less success than previous years.

As the company cut its full-year outlook, much of Kodak's focus will no doubt be on low levels of cash availability and a management restructuring.

Antonio Perez, Kodak's chief executive, continues efforts turn the former camera and film company into a profitable printing equipment company, after it borrowed $160 million in September to hire Lazard Ltd. and Jones Day for restructuring advice.

But as the company poured hundreds of millions of dollars into its printing business, on the brink of turning a profit, home printers and high-speed commercial inkjets are seen as Kodak's new money-maker. The company said it expects its consumer printing group to become profitable in this year's final quarter.


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