AgfaPhoto to continue all business segments during insolvency process

From August 1, AgfaPhoto’s workforce will be reduced from currently 1,715 employees to 1,287. For the medium term, the number of employees should not exceed 850, said Ringstmeier. All the employees, which will be made redundant, will be transferred into an interim company. Negotiations about severance packages with the company’s work council will start this weekend.

The production of photographic film and paper will be continued with 697 employees (down from 866) at AgfaPhoto’s manufacturing site in Leverkusen, 233 of currently 253 employees will continue at the company’s cutting and slitting plant in Windhagen, Germany. The production of photo chemistry in Vaihingen/Enz will also be continued.

While there have no details been released on the production of photo paper, it is possible that photographic film will be coated for the last time in August at the Leverkusen plant. Production and development of new products based of triacetate will be continued and are expected to be an important base to continue the activities. Hans-Gerd Jauch, however, did not rule out further production of photographic film, depending on the upcoming order volume. It would also be an option to buy jumbo rolls of film from other manufacturers for cutting, slitting and packaging in AgfaPhoto’s Windhagen plant, Jauch said.

At AgfaPhoto’s lab equipment division, significant workforce cuts are under way. At the company’s Munich and Peiting facilities, 216 of currently 466 employees will be made redundant. There are, however, sufficient orders for digital wholesale lab equipment and minilabs to continue production at least until the end of this year, Jauch said. Since the wholesale lab equipment has a market-leading position, it was safe to say that it will have a future, Jauch continued. Negotiations with potential investors are already under way.

As for the minilabs, Jauch pointed out that service for the approximately 10,000 installed AgfaPhoto minilabs will be provided over the long term. The company also wants to fullfil large orders of American customers. The current minilab range, Jauch continued, was well positioned and could be marketed in future. The development of new equipment, however, will only be possible with the support of a cooperation partner or investor. AgfaPhoto is currently negotiating with the Chinese partner in charge of production of major parts of the AgfaPhoto minilabs. A significant portion of AgfaPhoto minilab equipment is currently being manufactured at Nidec Copal (Zheijang) Co., Ltd. in Pinghu, Zheijang province in China. The company is a subsidiary of the Japanese Nidec Copal Group.

AgfaPhoto CEO Eddy Rottie and Ingbert Schmitz, Managing Director of Marketing and Sales, are leaving the company’s Board of Management, but will be available to continue their sales activities and their functions in AgfaPhoto’s international sales companies. The Supervisory Board of AgfaPhoto appointed Wilfried Sill, currently Head of the company’s production, Managing Director, joining Hans-Gerd Jauch on the Board of Management.

Dr. Andreas Ringstmeier declined to comment on the reasons for the insolvency of AgfaPhoto, pointing out that this will be part of his appraisal to the Court. It was obvious, however, Ringstmeier said, that AgfaPhoto was operating in a very difficult environment and a declining market. “Recently, Eastman Kodak Company announced to cut its workforce by 40 percent”, Ringstmeier said. “Thus, our restructuring measures mirror exactly the trend in the industry”.