New York: US camera pioneer Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy early on Thursday, according to a statement of the company's chief executive officer.

CEO Antonio Perez said the board of directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that (filing for bankruptcy) was a "necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak.”

Perez said the goal is to maximize value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors, and pension trustees.

"We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company," he said.

Kodak, registered in 1888 in New York by inventor George Eastman, has been a household name for generations as it made photography accessible for the masses with the invention of handheld cameras.

However, the company was on a losing streak in the late 1990s when fast-growing digital camera manufacturers started to grab the larger share of the market. In a bid to cut operating costs, Kodak has laid off a considerable part of its workforce, with its global staff members dropping from 86,000 in 1998 to less than 20,000 by the end of 2011.

Its share price fell more than 80 percent in 2011, currently at an all-time low. It closed at 55 cents on Wednesday.

The company was issued a warning this month by the New York Stock Exchange that its stock will be delisted if it cannot top the one-dollar mark for the next six months. Kodak announced Jan 10 a restructure plan to "accelerate digital transformation", remodeling its current three business sectors into two, namely the consumer segment and the commercial segment.

The consumer segment comprises retail businesses from cameras, paper, home printers, film rolls and photofinishing to the online photo-sharing service and the intellectual-property unit.

The commercial division contains motion-picture, industrial and professional films as well as high-speed presses, printing plates and software, document scanners and other printing products.

The company has also launched this month a slew of patent infringement lawsuits against leading digital brands such as Apple, Samsung and HTC. The company has also announced its intentions to sell a patent portfolio to raise money for its development.