Agfa-Photo is bankrupt

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Ralf R. Radermacher, May 27, 2005.

  1. German media announced today that Agfa-Photo, the photographic division
    of Agfa that had been branched off in a management buyout just a year
    ago, has declared bankruptcy.

    Some 1800 employees, 870 of which are working at the Leverkusen
    headquarters, will not receive their pay for the coming month.

    Ralf
     
    Ralf R. Radermacher, May 27, 2005
    #1
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  2. Ralf R. Radermacher

    me Guest

    Wow, no paychecks?
     
    me, May 27, 2005
    #2
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  3. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Ralf R. Radermacher writes ...
    When they split off last year the anti-digital zealots on this
    newsgroup claimed this split was proof that film had a bright future
    .... something about a "cash cow" for profits. Guess not.
     
    Bill Hilton, May 27, 2005
    #3
  4. Ralf R. Radermacher

    satbunny Guest

    So no more Scala?
     
    satbunny, May 27, 2005
    #4
  5. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Jan T Guest

    "satbunny" <> schreef in bericht
    | So no more Scala?
    |

    and no more APX, Rodinal, ... ?!?!?
     
    Jan T, May 27, 2005
    #5
  6. The zealots need to brush up on B-School terms.

    Agfa/Film now fits into the 'Dog' position on the BCG
    matrix.

    http://www.netmba.com/strategy/matrix/bcg/

    Twenty-fifty years ago it was a 'Cow'.
     
    Nicholas O. Lindan, May 27, 2005
    #6
  7. Ralf R. Radermacher

    John Guest

    Agfa film marketing has been mis-managed for a very long time. Unfortunately this
    isn't solely an Agfa problem. I hold little hope that the old-school management of any
    film company can adapt to the new market demands. Unfortunately. We're seeing an echo of
    what happened to the steel industry here in the US in the 1970's. Several inefficient
    companies who previously depended on large corporate or government contracts hold onto
    hopes that the can find clients to fill in the accounts that they have lost and therefore
    maintain the status quo. That's no way to run a business today and hasn't been for a very
    long time. When Agfa, Kodak, Ilford and others were started there was no option to
    photographic materials. Remember that this accounted for both movie-films and still-image
    materials. In 1975 Sony put the Betamax into reach of the public and since that time video
    and digital imaging have eaten the lunches of film manufacturers.

    IMO, what film manufacturers have to do is to make huge modifications to their
    business model and understand that they are going to be dealing with a whole new set of
    customers. Customers that are very demanding, have very little skill and also want quality
    products in minimal quantities at bargain-basement prices. As I told Kodak 5 years ago,
    the only way to accommodate this is to go to a direct sales model such as what Dell, Inc.
    has done. I believe that web-based sales account for a very large percentage of Dell's
    sales. Direct-sales gives a manufacturer direct feedback and simultaneously removes the
    margin-eating middleman. Unfortunately Kodak tried this out but the pricing on the limited
    materials they made available was about 30% over retail. To the best of my knowledge they
    never made any B-&-W papers available.

    Also note that Kodak is a very big promoter of digital as can best be seen at

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=2/3/3316&pq-locale=en_US

    This link is to the Kodak Online Store and there is not a single roll of film on
    the front page. Now try putting "film" into the FAQ's search utility. I didn't get
    anything. "We're sorry, we are not able to locate any questions or answers that match your
    search."

    JD - www.puresilver.org
     
    John, May 27, 2005
    #7
  8. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Rod Smith Guest

    First, remember that just because a company is going into bankruptcy
    protection doesn't mean that the company or its products will go away.
    Witness Ilford, which went into bankruptcy just a few months ago but is
    now out and continuing to do business. Of course, this isn't to say that
    Agfa (or even Ilford) will survive; I'm just saying that the sky MIGHT not
    be falling on Agfa just yet. We'll just have to wait and see.

    Second, for Rodinal specifically, there are other sources of Rodinal,
    albeit by other names:

    - Calbe R09, available in the US from http://www.jandcphotography.com, in
    England from http://www.retrophotographic.com, and I'm sure from other
    sources.

    - Formulary Paraminophenol (Rodinal), available in the US from
    http://www.photoformulary.com. I believe B&H also resells it.

    - Mix it yourself. There's a formula in Anchell's _Darkroom Cookbook_, and
    I'm sure I've seen it online, too, but I don't happen to have a URL
    handy.

    There are probably other sources, too, which I'm sure will become more
    prominent if Agfa bites the dust.

    None of this helps with APX film, of course. I've heard that Fomapan 100
    is similar to APX 100, but I've never shot Fomapan 100, so I can't comment
    from personal experience.
     
    Rod Smith, May 27, 2005
    #8
  9. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I am not "anti-digital", but I did look at the financial data the main
    company provided at the time of the sale. The odd thing at the time was
    that top executives arranged the deal, and it was not open to any
    outside bidding. Did they have something to hide?

    What I wonder about now is if those top executives lied about the
    numbers to get the sale to go through, thereby lining their own pockets
    with money. The only other explanation is that they mismanaged the
    company; if the profits at the time of sale were real, that is the only
    other explanation.

    This involves a large chunk of money, several investors, and lots of
    employees. Will they liquidate, or reorganize? Will any of the upper
    management be prosecuted?
     
    Gordon Moat, May 27, 2005
    #9
  10. Look beyond that.
    They at one time, a couple of years before they finally managed to sell the
    division, even offered their film division for sale through press
    statements. Made a general appeal to all the world to please take that
    division off their hands.
    No takers then.
    See that other thread for a (there are many more possible) diferent
    explanation.
    No chance.
    It's still perfectly legitimate to milk a company until it bleeds, and then
    declare it just has got to be closed bacuase it has become commercialy
    unviable, a liability.
    The top of the company goes on to other things, richer for the experience,
    and richer in their pocket books. The workers, and suppliers, are left to
    bear the pain.
     
    Q.G. de Bakker, May 27, 2005
    #10
  11. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Scott W Guest

    The whole film industry is in a crisis time, simply saying that film
    is better then digital does not change the fact that people are buying
    far less film each year. Main stream photography is going digital and
    this will have an impact on film.

    The film industry is still alive but it is in no way healthy, it would
    be fair to say that the industry is in a nosedive.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, May 27, 2005
    #11
  12. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Lorem Ipsum Guest

    It amuses me when people state the obvious. So what's your point? You may as
    well talk about the inevitability of gravity.
     
    Lorem Ipsum, May 27, 2005
    #12
  13. Oh, but there is a point.
    The obvious apparently needs to be stated over and over again. And again.

    Want to see for yourself?
    Just start a "film is (or will be) dead" thread, and you will see how
    obscure the obvious is to otherwise quite sensible people.
     
    Q.G. de Bakker, May 27, 2005
    #13
  14. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Gordon Moat Guest

    The MG / Rover group just tried that. Now the top management is under
    investigation. Sure, it is done, but not without consequence. Former top
    executives at Mannesmann was recently investigated, though basically cleared
    of wrong doing. AGFAPhoto executives could face the same scrutiny, and it
    would surprise me if they did not.
     
    Gordon Moat, May 27, 2005
    #14
  15. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Lorem Ipsum Guest

    Only the very stupid repeat themselves for the benefit of the very stupid.
    It is merely self serving. I will not repeat myself in this matter.
     
    Lorem Ipsum, May 27, 2005
    #15
  16. Ah, they perhaps will be scrutinized. It only takes one person wanting to to
    start legal proceedings.
    But the chance that that will lead to prosecution is extremely small..
     
    Q.G. de Bakker, May 27, 2005
    #16
  17. I'm glad you agree that there is a point. ;-)
     
    Q.G. de Bakker, May 27, 2005
    #17
  18. Way too early to tell.

    Agfa-Photo GmbH filed for insolvency, to be protected for the moment
    from those the company owed money - and that seems to be not a bank
    but Agfa-Gevaert AG, who gave the new owners a credit when they split
    off the new company.

    There are no figures given publicly and it might not be so bad at all
    - there are a few parts of Agfa-Photo making stuff that is highly
    competetive, like those producting the d-lab line of lab equipment

    (f´up to rec.photo.darkroom)

    "Ich fuehle Portraits.
    ich schmecke Landschaften.
    Frei von Belichtungsmesser,
    und Tiefenschaerfe." (aus "Pecker")
     
    Roman J. Rohleder, May 27, 2005
    #18
  19. The whole thing stinks. Ten miles against the wind.

    As we learned later today, the legal procedure was already initiated
    last week and they then waited until late Wednesday night to inform the
    company's trade union representatives.

    By that time, all of the staff had already left for an extended weekend
    since Thursday was a bank holiday and most people had taken Friday off.

    Clever timing... :-/

    Ralf
     
    Ralf R. Radermacher, May 27, 2005
    #19
  20. Ralf R. Radermacher

    Bernie Guest

    I'm not so sure it's about film not having any future, but it sure isn;t a
    bright one. I bet it has a lot to do with the financing costs for the 220
    million it cost the investors to buy the photo portions of the business from
    Agfa. Even at todays lower interest rates, that's a big debt to service.

    And if you listen to Kodak and Fuji, consumer film which was the real "cash
    cow" has dropped off and is continuing to drop off at rates of 25% a year
    and greater.

    If you think the small amount of B&W film or professional color films the
    folks on this newsgroup purchase would keep these companies in the green,
    it's just not going to happen.
     
    Bernie, May 28, 2005
    #20
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