Kodak, the film giant whom has been swirling the drain for nearly a decade, may be getting an unexpected lifeline.
8 years ago, Kodak — whose head office is located in Rochester, New York — filed for bankruptcy protection and began selling off assets in a bid to stay afloat. Kodak was one of the worst affected companies by the digital camera revolution when it did not evolve with the industry and film sales plummeted. This culminated in a near terminal position for the company and its stock price was in free fall. Now, Kodak's survival might be back on the cards, but through an unexpected route; the same route which has gutted so many other companies: COVID-19.
The U.S government has put forward a loan of three quarters of a billion dollars to leverage Kodak's facilities and procedures in developing chemicals, traditionally for camera film. This will be harnessed in combating the virus by the once titanic company producing ingredients for generic drugs used to fight the coronavirus.
Since the announcement on Tuesday, Kodak's share price has increased by over 60% and the giant who has been on its knees for many years now, might just get the boost it needs to rise back up. Jim Continenza, Executive Chairman of Kodak said, "Kodak is proud to be a part of strengthening America's self-sufficiency in producing the key pharmaceutical ingredients we need to keep our citizens safe."
Trade advisor to Trump, and White House spokesman Peter Navarro put a more political spin on the move, noting that, "If we have learned anything from the global pandemic, it is that Americans are dangerously dependent on foreign supply chains for their essential medicines." Navarro also added that the loan will create jobs in Rochester, which is undoubtedly a valuable side effect. Trump called this loan "one of the most important deals in the history of U.S. pharmaceutical industries," calling it a "great American company."
This isn't the first company in the industry to pivot in an "all hands to the pump" effort to combat COVID-19, with Fujifilm working on one of the most promising vaccines.
Lead image a composite using image by The White House from Washington, DC used under Creative Commons.