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Balance Sheet Disturbance Forces Sensor Business Deal from Kodak to Platinum

(Reuters) – Eastman Kodak said it sold its Image Sensor Solutions business to Platinum Equity for an undisclosed sum in a move that will provide it with much needed capital as it grapples with a dwindling cash pile.

The deal comes a week after Kodak said it was exploring raising $500 million in additional financing. It warned last Thursday it may need to raise new debt or complete a multibillion-dollar patent sale to survive the next 12 months.

Kodak has said it planned to generate $200 million from non-strategic asset sales this year.

A spokesman for Platinum Equity, a firm which specializes in buying distressed assets, declined to comment on the sale.

Kodak’s Image Sensor Solutions division helped develop the first digital camera prototype and operates across a broad range of industrial and media industries.

Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Mark Kaufman said the unit was profitable to Kodak.

As part of the deal, the company is selling a 263,000 square foot facility in Rochester, New York that houses the division’s manufacturing and research facilities. A Kodak spokesman said that some 200 full-time employees and some contractors were being offered jobs with Platinum.

Kodak said that as of September 30 the company held $862 million in cash, about 10 percent less cash that it had on June 30. It expects to have $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion in cash at the end of the year.

An analyst from the credit agency Moody’s published a note on Monday saying that Kodak would run out of cash in the United States by 2012 unless it receives a major cash infusion from a multibillion patent sale or new financing.

The company has said it has no intention of filing for bankruptcy.

Kodak’s image sensor business had industrial, medical, photography and security applications, according to the unit’s website. That division helped Kodak developed the first prototype of the digital camera as well as the image sensor used in the Space Shuttle program, it said.

Kodak shares rose 6 percent in after hours trading after closing at $1.19 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Richard Chang and Carol Bishopric)