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Kodak given a year to sort finances

Photography pioneer Kodak has a little over a year to reshape its loss-making businesses and deliver a get-out-of-bankruptcy plan.

Girded by a 950 million dollar (£611 million) financing deal with Citigroup, the firm aims to keep operating normally during bankruptcy while it markets a trove of digital-imaging patents.

After years of mammoth cost-cutting and turnaround efforts, Kodak ran short of cash and sought protection from its creditors on Thursday. It is required under its bankruptcy financing terms to produce a reorganisation plan by February 15 2013.

US bankruptcy judge Allan Gropper in New York gave Kodak permission to borrow an initial 650 million dollars (£418 million) from Citigroup.

He also set a June 30 deadline for Kodak to seek his approval of bidding procedures for the sale of 1,100 patents that analysts estimate could fetch at least two billion dollars (£1.28 billion). No buyers have emerged since Kodak started shopping these around in July 2011.

Through negotiations and lawsuits, Kodak has already collected 1.9 billion dollars (£1.22 billion) in patent licensing fees and royalties since 2008.

Last week, it intensified efforts to defend its intellectual property by filing patent-infringement lawsuits against Apple, HTC, Samsung Electronics and Fujifilm.

Kodak is also pursuing another high-stakes dispute before the US International Trade Commission in Washington DC against Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion over image-preview technology it patented in 2002.

Kodak has said it hopes to garner one billion dollars (£643 million) from the two-year-old claim. But the commission, a US arbiter for trade disputes, recently deferred its decision until September.

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