HARMAN technology Acquires Kentmere Photographic

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Simon R Galley, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Two leading names in photographic and inkjet products join forces.

    HARMAN technology Limited, the company behind ILFORD Photo and HARMAN Photo, has announced the addition of Kentmere Photographic Limited to its business. The move, which comes following a period of extensive negotiations, is being welcomed as a good thing for the brands involved as well as for the wider photographic community.

    Following the buy-out, HARMAN is keen to stress that the Kentmere brand will remain relatively unchanged. It will continue to offer the same resin coated and fibre based monochrome papers and inkjet products, whilst employing the same marketing approach.

    In fact, the key difference will be that the Kentmere brand will now enjoy the benefits of being backed by a larger organisation. In particular, the brand will have access to the additional expertise and investment, as well as the established export channels ( to markets such as the United States ), to take its success further.

    Speaking of the deal, HARMAN's Chairman and Managing Director, Phil Harris said : " HARMAN has an acquisitive growth policy and is keen to be seen as the natural home for high-quality imaging products. We have bought Kentmere recognising it is a strong brand with a massive amount of potential and knowing we can add what's required to help bring that potential to fruition. Our size, established infrastructure and ability to invest in the Kentmere brand, will help to open new doors and opportunities for its products".

    "At the same time, Kentmere will also add an extra dimension to our business. It will extend our product portfolio and allows us to target an even wider range of the market".

    "Ultimately, the addition of Kentmere Photographic to the HARMAN technology fold represents a marriage of ideals, a combining of strengths and a chance to share knowledge and expertise. All of which can only be beneficial to customers and the photographic community as a whole.

    HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  2. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Kentmere papers have been on my to-do list for a long while now, I read an article in a magazine from the 70's stressing their quality even back then. It's good to see ILFORD and Kentmere expanding, it seems there's a strong future for both.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In view of the Kodak statement that's just been posted its good to have some good news.

    Thanks for letting us know so quickly

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2007
  4. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    I take this as good news... One thing I was dwelling on during the Mobberley tour was how dangerous it was only having one coating facility (disaster recovery planning is part of the day job, tragically this is the sort of thing I worry about); I'm sure transferring production from one to the other would require an enormous amount of work, but if nothing else it provides some revenue generating capacity for the group if something 'bad' happened to one or other plant.

    Someone's DR plan just got better anyway - assuming Harman have such a thing :smile:.


    I just bought my first pack of Kentmere paper last week as well... Maybe I should wait a while before I invest in any Fuji B&W products lest that instigates a mega-merger :smile:
     
  5. photo8x10

    photo8x10 Member

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    I think it's a good news....

    Stefano
     
  6. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    I don't like it. Here is the construction of a monopoly going on and that means UNLIMITED price increases.

    -M-
     
  7. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    This seems like great news in at least 2 areas. First, Ilford is consolidating its share of the traditional photography market, which should help it stay strong and viable. Second, their acquisitions of products that have not been marketed in the US is good news for us Yanks envious of the wider range of products available in the UK. Go Ilford!
     
  8. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    I'm not sure what to make of this. Ilford/ Harman pi**ed me off when they halted the production of the Cooltone developer. How many Kentmere products will no longer be cost effective?

    Obviously early days to answer this, but will any old Kentmere products be resurrected? The Art range of papers for example? Foma have similar products so not sure why Ilford/ Kentmere can't use a similar method?

    Hopefully the acquisition will lead to increased profits.
     
  9. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    One-stop shop for me. I've standardized on FP-4 for all my film formats, and Kentmere papers for most of my printing. My only worry is relying on one Company like many did with Kodak. Hope the merger goes well for all.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    One major advantage to Ilford is far greater flexibility particularly as they have also previously announced they will be producing materials for Bergger. Hopefully it will mean a wider range of materials remains in what is a shrinking market.

    Gary mentions Cooltone being dropped, but while paper manufacturers have disappeared there is now an even greater choice of B&W chemicals on the market than in the past. Compared to 20 or 30 years ago the number of chemical manufacturers and more particularly their availability in overseas markets has risen.

    Ian
     
  11. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    "Not cost effective" = we photographers just didn't buy enough...EC
     
  12. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    The paranoid in me worries - I used Azo exclusively, then Forte Polywarmtone, and have now recently switched to Kentona. I hope I haven't killed off this wonderful paper, too.
    juan
     
  13. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    Hmmm. Not sure about this, there are pros and cons both ways. Companies often say that there will be relatively few changes, but in the end there always are, particularly if hard times hit. Accounts and IT are rationalised along with marketing, sales, R&D, distribution, etc. That's a bl**dy big warehouse they've got at Mobberley which was less than half full on our visit in 2006.

    I suppose only time will tell on this one.

    Hopefully the larger resources of Harman will help Kentmere. Perhaps they can now buy the Forte Polywarmtone formula and equipment. I've just cracked open my last packet of Art Classic, so please sort out that one Harman.

    In the end, I hope it works out well for both companies, employees and us customers.

    Mike
     
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  15. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Ah, so you`re the JINX.:D I like Kentona as well and would like to see a resin-coated version introduced, as I particularly like this paper for portraiture where as I find the base tint of Multigrade WT a bit too strong at times.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Although it does start to look like a monopoly, at least in the medium-term I don't see this as a problem of looming price increases. Kentmere has always been priced lower than Ilford. Having them in-house sets up a pricing structure for Ilford/Harman - they can have a product they can market to students and the educational market now without undercutting their profits. It's a smart move for them. I'd also think they would keep some of the fringe products like Kentona because they add diversity to the product line, without any new R&D costs or major marketing push.
     
  17. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    Interesting comment. So, who's next? Maybe Fotospeed?

    Mike
     
  18. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Thanks for the news update, Simon. (Remember, you read it here first. At least I did...)

    Indeed, this is something that has been in the back of my mind as well since the Mobberley tour. Especially after all the flooding news from the UK.
     
  19. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Coating Company A's products on Company B's product line would not be the work of a moment.

    Well, all I can say is I'm glad that FotoImpex has resurrected Agfa MCP and MCC -because I've certainly bought my last box of Kentmere Fineprint...though I rather doubt Ilford will be offering it for very long, anyhow
     
  20. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Well, at least you are in the EU where the EMU is relatively strong even against the UK Pound.

    The US Dollar is getting torn to pieces right now against the UK Pound, so any price increases will likely be even worse over here.

    Anyhow, this does go to show one thing...

    Nobody should feel they know ANYTHING about the relative health of any of these companies. We'd been told for the past few years that all was well at Kentmere with their new production facility, leaner staff, etc., and a very dedicated photo-enthusiast owner.

    Well if all of the above were true, why did this deal get made?
     
  21. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    As regards to Forte PWT at Kentmere - I don't think that will happen. Some of the former Forte R&D folks are at Foma trying to adapt Foma's own mutli-grade warmtone paper to behave more like PWT. Or, at least that's what member "Fotohuis" (who has deep Foma ties) has claimed.
     
  22. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Of course you are absolutely right. True... It will probably take years and years if you really want to deliver the same product...

    So, Kentmere will continue to be Kentmere, which is why I don't really understand...

    ...why you will not buy Kentmere from today onwards... :confused: (or am I misinterpreting this comment?)

    Or are you just expressing the fear that certain products will be discontinued? Might happen, who knows (in mergers or takeovers of two similar companies, this usually happens sooner or later, to a lesser or greater extent), but while it's still around, why not keep using it?
     
  23. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    My thoughts exactly.
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A monopoly on silver products wouldn't be a monopoly on B&W imaging. If high prices on silver gelatin products pushed people to digital, that would endanger the whole enterprise, so I don't see "unlimited price increases" as likely here.
     
  25. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Sounds good to me. No fears of an 'evil monopoly' here as Ilford have never given me a single reason to call any of their business practices into question. They are good folks and I wish them all the best with the merger. I've been meaning to try some Kentmere as well, looks like this might motivate me a bit..
     
  26. Andrey Donchev

    Andrey Donchev Member

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    Strength in Unity

    This will make Ilford stronger! Me think this is a good news. The price increase of darkroom materials is unavoidable in this situation of shrinking market. Is time to face the truth and to admit, at least in front of the mirror, that our hobby is expensive! That's why it gives such good results and make us so happy. I'm in love with it and if I have to sacrifice some more money to make it live, I'll do it! I'll rather start to paint then, converting myself to digital. My only hope is that the Kentmere products will stay alive and developing, thus giving us more options for artistic interpretation!