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Kodak Shifts Into Drug Production With Help of a $765 Million U.S. Loan

Shares of Eastman Kodak Co. KODK, +235.87% nearly tripled (up 192%) in very active premarket trading Tuesday toward a 2 1/2-year high, after a report that the print and advanced materials and chemicals company secured a $765 million government loan to help with the production of drugs to treat a variety of medical conditions.

Trading volume ballooned to 10.3 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 272,000 shares, and enough to make the stock the most actively traded in the premarket.

Eastman Kodak Co. received a $765 million government loan to help expedite the domestic production of drugs to treat different types of medical conditions and loosen the country’s reliance on foreign sources.

The move is expected to create approximately 300 jobs in Rochester and up to 50 jobs in Minnesota, Kodak chairman, and chief executive officer Jim Continenza said in a statement.

The Rochester-based company is gearing up to produce ingredients for generic drugs, including the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which President Donald Trump has supported in treatment for COVID-19, according to the Journal The Wall Street Journal

The report said that the loan is from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and is the first of its kind under the Defense Production Act.

The company, which was a photography and imaging industry leader, appears to be shifting focus. Continenza said in a statement that he expects pharmaceutical ingredients to make up 30% to 40% of Kodak’s business over time.

Further details will be released at a mid-afternoon news conference at Kodak Center in Rochester. 

The company, founded in Rochester in 1888, at its peak employed more than 145,000 people worldwide, including more than 60,000 locally-based workers. But in the past three decades, the world embraced digital imagery and abandoned film. The company has struggled to survive. The most recent figures, posted in late 2019, show that Kodak employs around 4,900 people worldwide.

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