Kodak shares rise nearly 1,500% thanks to Covid drug loan deal

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Kodak shares jumped 1,481% this week in heavy trading as the Trump administration offered the former photography industry leader a financial lifeline to make ingredients in drugs used to fight the coronavirus.The company’s valuation jumped from $ 92 million to $ 1.5 billion, with its shares rising from $ 2.10 on Friday to nearly $ 33.20 on Wednesday. The stock was stopped more than a dozen times in the first two hours of trading on Wednesday, a day after more than tripling in value.

The pace of transactions has far exceeded anything seen since the company’s return to the New York Stock Exchange following its exit from bankruptcy in 2013.

Rochester, New York-based Kodak and the US International Development Finance Corporation announced Tuesday that the company has secured a $ 765 million loan to produce pharmaceutical ingredients under the Defense Production Act.

Kodak shares began to climb on Monday. That day, a Rochester TV station released – and then deleted – a report announcing that an announcement was to be made by the company on Tuesday, news anchor Adam Chodak of CBS affiliate WROC told the Financial Times. The WROC report did not include details of what the two organizations would reveal, beyond a manufacturing deal linked to Covid-19.

By the end of the day, Kodak shares had gained 25%, with around 1.65 million shares changing hands, more than 14 times the daily average in the previous 10 trading days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jim Continenza, Kodak’s chief executive, told CNBC on Wednesday that he “couldn’t tell you what influenced this.” [volume]Monday, but the Kodak team “had known for over a week” of the impending announcement.

“I mean, obviously it’s been a pretty tight secret, obviously, even until the last day,” he said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission declined to say whether it was investigating the surge in business activity before the announcement. Kodak and Nexstar, the owner of the WROC in Rochester, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kodak’s trading volumes continued to rise on Tuesday and Wednesday, with more than $ 10.9 billion in shares – some 558 million shares – changing hands.

The stock, which briefly hit $ 60 a share on Wednesday, quickly found its way into retail accounts. Investors in the Robinhood stock trading app were among Kodak’s big buyers, with 117,105 accounts holding the stock as of the end of Wednesday, according to data tracking activity on the amateur trading app. Fewer than 10,000 Robinhood accounts held shares in the company as of Monday.

Mr Continenza told the Financial Times on Tuesday that Kodak would use the government’s $ 765 million to produce ingredients for generic drugs, including some that could be used to treat Covid-19.

Mr. Continenza joined the company’s board of directors in 2013, after Kodak’s failed attempts to overhaul its analog film business bankrupted it. The presiding judge called the failure “a tragedy in American economic life.” Mr. Continenza also recently increased his stake in the group. In June, he revealed to U.S. securities regulators that he had purchased 46,737 shares.

The company, once at the forefront of technological development and the backbone of the upstate New York economy, has already attempted to change its business model. In 2018, he latched onto the popularity of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, lending his familiar brand to KodakCoin – a tool to help photographers secure payment for digital image rights. This move briefly raised its shares in value.

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