Kodak and Rochester, fighting for a renaissance
They work to bail out the past. They are 2 & nbsp; 300 employees and must develop their business to pay the pensions of the 16 & nbsp; 000 British veterans of the company. This is the curious story of Kodak Alaris, a Rochester company born out of the ruins of Kodak bankruptcy. The sole shareholder of this company is the pension fund for former British employees of Kodak and the objective is to pay them their retirement, which was engulfed in the disaster. It sums up the painful transformation of Rochester, in northern New York State, which is struggling to balance its industrial past to embrace the digital and service age. Rebirth after the collapse of a company that employed more than 60,000 workers in the city in the early 1980s and is no longer even in the top ten employers in the region. This is the story of Kodak after Kodak, of Rochester after Kodak.
The drama takes place in & nbsp; 2013, when the former world leader in photography Kodak declares himself in default. The company founded in 1892 by George Eastman (1854-1932) in Rochester missed the digital turn. For the city, it was a trauma.
For the pension fund for British employees, the first subsidiary of the American multinational, also: Kodak then owed them 2.8 billion dollars. To honor its debts, Kodak chooses to liquidate the 1 & nbsp; 100 patents it holds in the digital world. The group then hopes to draw 2.3 billion, but in times of bankruptcy, it is the cure: Google, Amazon and other giants give only 530 million. This is not enough, the hole is wide open: the 16,000 British employees are preparing to make a cross on their retirement, or almost. The logic would be that in London the pension regulator takes over and pays retired people the guaranteed minimum, a misery pension.
Finally, an unorthodox solution is imagined & nbsp ;; the pension fund decides to take over the company's assets: 4 & nbsp; 700 employees, the right to use patents and the Kodak brand, buildings and activities in film, photographic printing and digital scanning. Thus was born Kodak Alaris, who must "be worth" 2.8 billion dollars for retirees to find their bearings. "& Nbsp; The raison d'être of this company, my mission, is to pay the retirement of these employees, which is very noble & nbsp;", explains the Franco-American Marc Jourlait, 50, who took the lead of the company in January. "& Nbsp; If the box is sold, cut up, listed on the stock exchange, this will be the next step. & Nbsp;" So far, he has sold land near London, restructured the debt and, with a turnover of less than $ 1 billion, is looking for a future.