Eastman Kodak Co. is suspending its $2 billion stock repurchase program in order to reduce debt and free up cash for possible acquisitions, the company said Friday.
The decision also will help return the company's debt-to-capital ratio to about 40 percent, in line with goals the company announced Dec. 12.
The world's biggest photo film maker, based in Rochester, N.Y., was quick to point out that first-quarter cash flow remains in line with expectations and is consistent
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to buy Bell & Howell Co. assets to exclude the document scanner business. But that move was portrayed as an attempt to resolve antitrust concerns rather than any cost or cash-flow issue. In October, Kodak agreed to buy Bell's imaging business for $150 million cash.
Kodak has been spending about $1 million a day since December to buy back 32 million shares for $2 billion. During the fourth quarter of 2000, Kodak repurchased about 10 million shares at a cost of $445 million.