Kodak files business plan, sees turnaround, growth in 2013

— -- Eastman Kodak, which has been shrinking for years, is looking to 2013 to finally reverse that trend and become, once again, a growing company.

The printing and imaging company on Monday filed a post-bankruptcy business plan and financial projections that show top-line revenue dropping to a low point this year and then growing in 2013 and thereafter.

The company also expects improvement to its bottom line starting in 2013.

If those projections come to pass, it would signal a remarkable turnaround for a company plagued for years by financial deterioration as its traditional film business fell apart.

The document also lays out, in broad strokes, Kodak's business plan after bankruptcy -- focusing on digital printing presses and their supplies, packaging and display printing, technical services and entertainment industry film.

Those are almost all growth industries, according to Kodak, except for entertainment imaging, which is expected to decline 28% between 2011 and 2014.

Kodak's revenue peaked at $14.3 billion in 2005 and has been sliding since, dipping to $6 billion in 2011.

The company doesn't have a strong track record of hitting its financial projections in recent years. For example, CEO Antonio Perez told Wall Street analysts and investors in early 2011 that Kodak expected to see its revenue rebound in 2012. But that rosy prognostication has fallen woefully short.

The 83-page business plan and projections filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday detail both the substantial changes the company has gone through the past eight years and the financial results.

According to the filing, Kodak has made huge cuts to operating expenses, which totaled $1.4 billion in 2011 and will likely be about $1 billion this year and less than $1 billion by 2014. Operating expenses include outlays for research and development and for sales, administrative and general costs.

In the first half of 2012, Kodak said it laid off 2,300 people worldwide. It began the year with slightly more than 17,000 employees.

From last year's base of $6 billion in revenue, this year will see further decline, to about $4.4 billion. That wouldn't be unexpected since Kodak is getting out of the digital camera business.

But according to Kodak's projections, revenue should increase to $4.5 billion in 2013 and to $4.8 billion in 2014, with growth accelerating in subsequent years.

That growth, the company said, comes from having a presence in expanding industries such as digital color printing and specialty printing.

Kodak projects that gross profit -- not counting such expenses as taxes and depreciation -- will remain in the red this year but rebound to the black in 2013 and continue to increase.

For the first half of 2012, Kodak has lost $150 million.

Patent Deadline extended

As the company filed its business turnaround plan Monday, it also announced an extension of the deadline for naming a winning bidder in the auction of 1,100 digital imaging patents.

Spokesman Christopher Veronda declined to say when Kodak expects to announce the winner. In a short statement, the company said its creditors agreed to the delay "in light of continuing discussions with bidders."

Kodak had been working under a 5 p.m. Monday deadline for filing the outcome of the auction with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York City.

For more than a year, Kodak has been trying to sell the patents to raise much-needed cash. The company's Jan. 19 filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was made, in part, to help smooth the way for selling the intellectual property.

The delay and Kodak's statement seem to indicate the selling price is rising, though it's impossible to say whether the delay is by a desperate Kodak hoping more time will translate into more aggressive bidding or a happy Kodak watching the bids soar.

"Auctions only go one direction, which is up," said Ken Luskin, president of California investment firm Intrinsic Value Asset Management. "And it's been six days. If after six days the bidders are still going at it, use a little imagination."

Proceeds from the patent sale first will go to pay back the lenders helping keep Kodak afloat during bankruptcy. As of the end of June, Kodak owed $657 million to those lenders, according to a financial status report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

If the winning bid is below that amount, Kodak isn't immediately up the financial creek. The company ended June with $1.3 billion in reserve.

Daneman also reports for The (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle