Cash-strapped Kodak has defended its plan to pay staff u2013 including some from Europe u2013 bonuses totalling $13.5 million (u00a38.5m), saying the payouts are necessary to stop key employees leaving the firm.

Cash-strapped Kodak has defended its plan to pay staff ? including some from Europe ? bonuses totalling $13.5 million (£8.5m), saying the payouts are necessary to stop key employees leaving the firm.

The troubled camera maker, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the US earlier this year, inadvertently heaped more negative publicity on itself by confirming that it has sought legal permission to hand over the money.

Around 300 of Kodak?s top managers are in line to receive a bonus, if approved by the court.

In response, an Eastman Kodak spokesman told Amateur Photographer that its Employee Continuity Plan is designed to give the company the ability to ?retain people in key positions based on business needs throughout the Chapter 11 [bankruptcy protection] process’.

In a statement the firm added: ?If the motion is approved by the court, we will provide incentives to a limited number of employees, based on their critical roles in developing and delivering a profitable, sustainable business strategy.?

The US-based firm added: ?The incentive will be paid if they remain employed by Kodak through a specified period. Members of the Executive Council and certain other senior management positions are not eligible for this program.?

Kodak has confirmed that some European staff are among 119 employees who would qualify in the first round of the payouts.

The spokesman added: ‘The next round would be up to 180, at all levels in the company.’

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