updated 6/15/2005 3:03:09 PM ET 2005-06-15T19:03:09

Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday it will discontinue production of black-and-white photographic paper by the end of the year as continues its transition to digital photography.

Kodak spokesman David Lanzillo said the paper, used in traditional darkrooms, is produced at facilities in Rochester and Brazil. The company will continue to make black-and-white film and chemicals for processing.

Lanzillo said he could not specify how many employees will be affected, but the decision is part of the previously announced reduction of 12,000 to 15,000 workers worldwide by 2007. That is expected to leave the photography giant with a global work force of about 50,000.

Demand for black-and-white paper is declining 25 percent annually as the imaging industry transitions from film to digital, Lanzillo said.

Kodak in April reported a first-quarter loss of $142 million because of a steady slide in revenues from film and other chemical-based businesses and higher-than-expected costs to cover steep job cuts.

The company grew into an icon on the strength of its traditional film, paper and photofinishing businesses. It is now betting its future in digital terrain — from cameras, inkjet paper and online photofinishing to photo kiosks and minilabs, X-ray systems and commercial printers.

The largest maker of black-and-white photo paper, Ilford Imaging of Britain, went into bankruptcy last year, emerging this year after a management-led buyout. Germany’s AgfaPhoto GmbH filed for bankruptcy last month.

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