Kodak’s stock price plummeted early Monday after the Trump administration slammed the brakes on a loan deal to help the company launch a pharmaceuticals business.
Shares in the former photography giant tumbled 38.2 percent to $9.20 by 7:50 a.m. after the US International Development Finance Corporation put the $765 million loan on ice amid probes of how Kodak disclosed the deal.
The agency’s Friday announcement marked a reversal of fortune for Kodak as insider trading concerns appeared to undercut the Rochester, New York-based company’s attempted pivot to drug manufacturing.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and congressional committees are reportedly investigating how Kodak handled the announcement of its loan deal with the feds, which was meant to help the company produce ingredients for a wide range of drugs and reduce the US’s dependence on foreign manufacturers.
News of the deal leaked out through two local news outlets in Rochester on July 27, a day before the Trump administration formally announced it. That also happened to be the day that several Kodak insiders were granted stock options before the company’s share price skyrocketed more than 1,100 percent in two days to close at $33.20 on July 29 — a surge that added more than $200 million to CEO James Continenza’s holdings.
In a Twitter post, the Development Finance Corporation said it would not proceed with the loan deal unless Kodak was cleared of “recent allegations of wrongdoing.” Kodak declined to comment on the tweet, but the company said Friday that it had launched an internal review of “recent activity” related to the July 28 announcement.
The development corporation’s move to put the loan on hold won praise from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who initially called the deal “a huge step forward towards American pharmaceutical independence.”
“VERY disappointed last week’s great deal with Kodak tarnished by allegations,” Navarro tweeted on Friday. “Absolutely RIGHT move by DFC!”
Monday’s early tumble added to last week’s nearly 32 percent drop in Kodak’s stock price, which closed at $14.88 on Friday.
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