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600 staff axed and plant shut in Kodak shake-up

Kodak today said it was cutting 600 jobs in the UK and closing a factory in Nottingham.

The photographic equipment manufacturer plans to shut its photo film finishing plant at Annesley with the loss of 350 jobs.

Kodak also said it was closing part of its operations at a site in Harrow, Middlesex, reducing the 1,350-strong workforce there by 250 people.

The cuts are part of a global restructuring programme announced by Kodak in January.

The US-based company is being forced to reshape its operations in the face of declining demand for traditional photographic film and the rising popularity of digital cameras.

The Annesley factory is due to close in a year's time while the cuts at Harrow will take place by March. Kodak employs 3,000 people in the UK.

Kodak said Harrow eventually would become the headquarters for its UK operations.

The company said it planned to move more than 300 jobs to Harrow from its present UK head office in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The remaining staff of 350 would stay in Hemel Hempstead, it said.

Kodak is looking to reduce its global facilities by about one third over three years.

It said there was a "fundamental shift in customer and consumer behaviour" taking place in the face of the rising popularity of digital photography.

The firm said it was consolidating many different types of functions and operations at sites around the globe "in order to respond more effectively to customers in a world that is becoming increasingly digital".

Kodak's UK managing director Peter Blackwell said: "The simple fact is that customer and consumer preferences are changing and demand for traditional products such as film and paper has fallen with the rising popularity of digital photography.

"These have been difficult decisions to take and are no reflection on the highly valued work performed by our employees.

"Sadly, Kodak has to respond to customer and consumer trends changing so dramatically."

Kodak said today's announcement positioned the firm to speed up its rapid growth in digital imaging while maintaining a strong traditional business, which it said would remain "very significant for the years to come".

It said its Easyshare photo printers, which allow people to develop digital photos at home, had "taken the snapshot photo printing market by storm", having quickly achieved the number one spot in the UK market.

Kodak said the latest market share data on digital cameras showed it was in number three spot in the UK.

It added that it also had a leading share of the British market for photo kiosks.

Kodak also produces its Picture Maker Kiosks, which allow customers to print digital pictures from cameras or mobile phones at retailers.