In court papers, the retirees had urged the company to hold off on the bonuses until after the patent auction, which will influence the success of its restructuring.
Earlier in the hearing, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's Marc R. Trevino defended Kodak's management team, especially against contentions that the team "drove" the company into bankruptcy and now seeks bonuses. On several occasions, he looked directly over to the table of lawyers objecting to the bonuses while making his points.
"This is a talented team that has worked tirelessly to transform the debtors," Mr. Trevino said. While the objectors' intuition was that the management team is to blame, he said, "like all intuitions, they can be wrong."
Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., filed for Chapter 11 protection in January after failing to sell its patents outside of bankruptcy court. The company's photography-driven business became marginalized by increased digital competition, and it struggled with high labor and pension costs.
A successful restructuring of the iconic company hinges on the sale of the patents, which the company will auction off later this week. Bidders, according to The Wall Street Journal, include Apple Inc. Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. . Kodak is counting on the sale of those patents to pay its creditors.
In February, Kodak said it will close its camera business, which makes digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames, in a move that could save it $100 million annually. Kodak intends to focus on retail and desktop-inkjet printing rather than photography after it completes its restructuring.