U.S. loan fuels Kodak stock surge, new jobs

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Shares of Eastman Kodak Co. jumped 203 percent Tuesday, following news of its intent to form Kodak Pharmaceuticals in Rochester.

The company’s stock (NYSE: KODK) closed at $7.94 a share, up from $2.62 on July 27.

Accelerating its move is a $765 million loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corp.  It will support startup costs associated with repurposing and expanding Kodak’s facilities here and in St. Paul, Minn. The unit, once operational, will create 360 jobs and 1,200 indirect hires, mostly in Rochester. 

A letter of intent for the loan was signed on July 28. It will be followed by due diligence before the commission of funds.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello called it a “new chapter” for Kodak.

“In this time of unprecedented challenge, this opportunity will showcase the best of Monroe County and our ability to quickly adapt to the needs of our new economy, even while responding to the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “I am excited to see Kodak leading this forward-thinking initiative and am confident that our skilled workforce will make it a success.”

Kodak Pharmaceuticals will produce components for the pharmaceutical industry that are deemed essential by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the DFC, while Americans consume roughly 40 percent of the global supply of bulk components used to produce generics, only 10 percent are made in the U.S.

“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,” said Kodak executive chairman Jim Continenza in a statement. “By leveraging our vast infrastructure, deep expertise in chemicals manufacturing, and heritage of innovation and quality, Kodak will play a critical role in the return of a reliable American pharmaceutical supply chain.”

The project marks the first use of new authority delegated by President Donald Trump’s recent executive order that enables DFC and the U.S. Department of Defense to collaborate in support of the domestic response to COVID-19. 

Kodak is expected to coordinate closely with the administration and pharmaceutical manufacturers to identify and prioritize components that are essential to the American people and U.S. national security.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.

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