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Kodak set to emerge from bankruptcy as smaller commercial operation

Over a year and a half after Kodak filed for bankruptcy, the once dominant camera firm has earned court approval to relaunch as a much smaller corporate facing digital imaging company.

New York Judge Allan Gropper has cleared the way for Kodak to exit bankruptcy in around a fortnight.

"It will be enormously valuable for the company to get out of Chapter 11 and hopefully begin to regain its position in the pantheon of American business," Gropper said.

Kodak originally filed a $6.75 billion (£4.3 billion) bankruptcy in January 2012 after the American photography company, founded in 1888 by George Eastman - the creator of rolled photographic film - failed to continue its analogue success following the rapid rise of digital camera technology.

Kodak's market value topped $31 billion (£19.8 billion) in the mid-1990s; by 2011 this had fallen to $600 million (£383 million). It had hoped to make around $2 billion (£1.3 billion) from the sale of 1100 digital imaging patents when it filed for bankruptcy, but after a number of disputes only managed to fetch $525 million (£335million) for the portfolio.

Now, Kodak plans to transform into a B2B company focussed on products such as high-speed digital printing technology and packaging. The firm will also continue to offer film and television image processing products and services. It has sold all consumer focussed operations.

"Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader serving large and growing commercial imaging markets – such as commercial printing, packaging, functional printing and professional services – with a leaner structure and a stronger balance sheet," CEO Antonio Perez said in a statement.