Kodak to Cut Hundreds of Jobs in Europe

Eastman Kodak Co. (EK) announced on Tuesday it would restructure several plants based in Britain and France, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs by 2005.

As part of a wider effort to concentrate on digital products and services, the company said it would make broad changes to plants at Harrow and Annesley in Britain, and wind down some operations in Chalon, France.

Last year, Kodak (search) disclosed a controversial world-wide, three-year effort to cut investment in film products and reduce headcount by 12,000 to 15,000 jobs.

"Such actions are essential for Kodak to reinforce its leading position in digital imaging products and services, while sustaining and extending its worldwide leadership in traditional photographic products," said Etienne Bourgeios, head of Kodak's Europe, Africa and Middle Eastern region.

Accordingly, Kodak said it would make its Harrow plant its U.K. operational hub, transferring about 300 staff from other U.K. locations to Harrow. It added that a facility that sensitizes film would close by the end of March 2005, affecting 250 employees.

Its Annesley operation, which primarily produces consumer photographic film, is slated to close by the end of September 2005, which will result in 350 lost jobs, the company said.

In Chalon, France, Kodak cited weak demand for consumer films and color photographic paper, which is prompting the company to shutter production in those areas by Sept. 2005. That action will shed 270 jobs, the company said, adding that 1,800 employees would continue to work in various other areas.