Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 68,705   Posts: 1,482,755   Online: 1033
      
Page 1 of 9 1234567 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 87

Thread: Forte closure

  1. #1
    Petzi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Europe
    Shooter
    Med. Format Pan
    Posts
    857

    Forte closure

    I have found an interesting news article about the Forte closure. The source is: http://www.portfolio.hu/en/cikkek.td...=1&k=2&i=10745


    Hungarian Forte finishes forlorn fable

    Tuesday, 16, January 2007 12:07:00 PM

    Hungary's once great photo chemicals producer Forte incurred losses of over HUF 150 million in 2006 and is forced to close down for good. Forte, which makes black & white film, photographic papers and other photo materials, will stop production in February and lay off every worker, news portal index.hu has reported on Tuesday.

    Forte posted revenues of HUF 1 billion last year but its losses amounted to HUF 150-200 million, János Máté, chief executive and part owner said, adding the company would be closed by end-February at the latest.

    According to Court of Registry data, Forte has a subscribed capital of HUF 405 m.

    Investors based in Csurgó (southwest Hungary) bought the troubled Forte in 2005 and renamed it Forteinvest Tőkebefektető Kft. While the plant remained in Vác and properties leased in the capital city were retained, the headquarters was moved to Csurgó.

    At that time it seemed Forte could be saved and the company even made a profit in 2005. They believed Forte had a long-term future in B&W photography, as it would have absorbed several billions of forints to switch to colour photography.

    However, Forte's big competitors also succumbed. Two major players on the Europan B&W market, a German and a French company also folded and Forte expected their fall to open new possibilities for them.

    Quite the contrary, the closure of the two companies had an immense amount of finished products flood the market, which Forte simply could not cope with. Máté said it would have taken them at least HUF 300 million worth of investment to sit out the depletion of the oversupply.

    Forte will lay off about 150 employees.
    If you're not taking your camera...there's no reason to travel. --APUG member bgilwee

  2. #2
    Petzi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Europe
    Shooter
    Med. Format Pan
    Posts
    857
    Another one from the same site: http://www.portfolio.hu/en/cikkek.td...=1&k=2&i=10833

    Forlorn fable of Hungarian Forte may turn to sweet story

    Tuesday, 23, January 2007 04:21:00 PM

    A French and a German investor are contemplating to keep the Forte brand name and save the closure-slated Hungarian photo material producer from its fate, local news portal index.hu has reported on Tuesday. Forte is set to close down for good in February and part with its entire staff of some 150 people.

    Forte, a maker of black & white film, photographic papers and other photo material since 1922, posted revenues of HUF 1 billion last year while incurring losses of about HUF 150-200 million.

    The news portal said Bergger of France and Germany's FilmoTec were interested in keeping up production at Forte, but the Hungarian owner says he has been waiting for a concrete offer for months. The professional investors would retain 80 jobs.

    FilmoTec was established in the early 1990s on the ruins of ORWO, a partner of Forte in the German Democratic Republic.

    “We have been in talks with investors led by Bergger since November, but we have not received a concrete offer up to date," said János Máté, one of the owners of Forteinvest Kft. (the official name of Forte). The investors would need at least HUF 300 million to fulfil their plans. The Hungarian owners had similar ideas but their tender submitted to the Economics Ministry did not win.

    Máté said Forte is a supplier of the foreign companies he has been negotiating with and so they know the companies technologies and have all the information about the operations of Forte. He added, however, that Bergger also wanted to carry out due diligence at the company, while they failed to come up with an offer in three months.

    “We are open to any kind of offer, but I feel that if they haven't made one so far, there is little chance they will do now," Máté said.

    The potential investors have not yet given up on Forte, said András Váczi, communications director at the Hungarian Trade and Development Agency (ITDH). The Bergger-FilmoTec team would carry on the Forte brand and give job to about 80 employees, while introducing a new, modern technology at the Vác-based plant, he said.

    They would bring a new production line and start producing photo papers for digital prints, which would be a partial switch of profile, given that Forte has been famed internationally for its B&W photo materials.

    Bergger informed ITDH that they lacked the necessary information to make an offer. ITDH offered its help to both the owners and the potential buyers to carry on with talks in days. Meanwhile, the 22 February deadline (for the closure of Forte) is drawing closer.

    Forte in brief

    According to Court of Registry data, Forte has a subscribed capital of HUF 405 m.

    Private investors based in Csurgó (southwest Hungary) bought the troubled Forte in June 2005 and renamed it Forteinvest Tőkebefektető Kft. While the plant remained in Vác and properties leased in the capital city were retained, the headquarters was moved to Csurgó. This year they posted a profit of HUF 9 million, but in 2006 their balance turned red and the company incurred losses of HUF 150-200 m.

    The company's woes were triggered by the fact that two of its largest competitors, major players on the Europan B&W market, a German and a French company, crashed. Their closure companies saw an immense amount of finished products flood the market, which Forte simply could not cope with.

    Máté said it would have taken them at least HUF 300 million worth of investment to sit out the depletion of the oversupply.

    Bergger in brief

    Founded in 1995, Bergger Photographic combined from its inception the talents of chemist engineer Guy Gerard and economist and business expert Daniel Boucher.

    Guy Gerard's experience in research and development creating innovative films and papers was perfected during his thirty year tenure at Guilleminot, France's oldest and most respected photographic products resource. The company's closing in the early 90s prompted Gerard to seek out his friend and colleague Daniel Boucher.

    Boucher's Ph.D. in economics and talent for business strategy had served him well as manager of the Rothschild Bank, and, coupled with Gerard's technical expertise, would make the unique partnership of Bergger Photographic complete.

    Bergger Photographic is proud to be continuing the grand tradition of photographic excellence in the country of the medium's origin. Today, Bergger Photographic is well-known around the world for:
    -the industry's finest array of classic silver papers;
    -premium black and white films;
    -antique and alternative processes products;
    -fine darkroom chemistry;
    -progressive new inkjet papers.

    FilmoTec in brief

    FilmoTec GmbH produces a wide range of high quality photographic film at its factory in Wolfen, Germany, at the site where motion picture film has been manufactured since 1910, and where film has been produced under the ORWO brand ever since 1964.

    Currently, FilmoTec's product range incorporates black and white negative film for motion picture production, duplicating film, sound recording film and leaders for the processing and distribution business.

    Specialised film is also manufactured for bank security, traffic surveillance, and personal identification.

    The company further provides a range of support services for inspecting mechanical, optical and photographic facilities and equipment.
    If you're not taking your camera...there's no reason to travel. --APUG member bgilwee

  3. #3
    Aurelien's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Limoges, France
    Shooter
    Med. Format RF
    Posts
    669
    Images
    96
    Why not launching a subscription in order to help the keeping of Forte?

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Datchet, Berkshire UK- about 20 miles west of London
    Shooter
    Medium Format
    Posts
    342
    "Why not launching a subscription in order to help the keeping of Forte?"

    If you mean keep it going as a discrete business rather than having its best products produced by a new owner elsewhere, its not that simple. If you could generate 1000 participants to produce a break even scenario, your share would be about £400/$800 for one year. With every probability that you'd need to spend the same or more next year and forever. Even that may not be enough to dissuade the owners from closing the facility to redevelop the land.

    I think the best hope for the continuation of Forte products is to make them in a more efficient/highly utilised facility where it can also piggyback existing sales and marketing/admin infrastructures rather than have to fund its own. Frankly a business turning over £2.5million employing 150 people is not likely to be sustainable, Much better to bite this bullet and hopefully get the best products produced by a more endurably sustainable business which might even be more secure with the Forte volume within it.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cambridge, MA USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    895
    Thanks for the postings.

    To provide a bit of context, 1 US Dollar = 190 Hungarian Florint.

    In effect, Forte would have needed about $1.3 million USD to tide them over while the excess inventory was consumed.

    Mirko Boddecker of fotoimpex did believe that Forte's ownership was not compelled to make an immediate decision on the future of the planty and property after the closure - so this may yet drag on a while.

    I agree 100% with David's analysis that a Bergger-FilmoTec buyout is the best offer. Hopefully there are some distributors, retailers who are also willing to get involved.

  6. #6
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    22,713
    Images
    65
    An additional point should be added. The huge inventory at Forte is getting old. Photo products don't keep forever, and relabeling with a new expiration date is legal but not good. You will probably see a decrease in quality.

    The problem is that when Kodak left the B&W paper business, there was panic buying to some extent, and also the feeling that this business that used to be Kodak's would transfer to 2nd and 3rd tier companies and so they ramped up production. It was a feedback loop that caused some 'pulses' in the supply and demand chain and finally resulted in warehouse overstock.

    So, you will see bargain film out there from all defunct brands, including Agfa. It remains to be seen if these are good or not. IMHO, Agfa film was very good, but not noted for its good keeping qualities. IDK about their paper.

    I like to think of APUG and Photo Net users (particularly MF and LF people but not excluding 35mm) as being professional in their work attitude and demands, and so this possible loss in quality may be important. That is why I mention it.

    BTW. I have seen some products go through an intermediate period where they improve in quality for a time before they go downhill due to keeping. If you see some particularly spectacular results, you may find it to be a one-of-a-kind event, that will never be quite duplicated in the future.

    PE

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    283
    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    An additional point should be added. The huge inventory at Forte is getting old. Photo products don't keep forever, and relabeling with a new expiration date is legal but not good. You will probably see a decrease in quality.

    The problem is that when Kodak left the B&W paper business, there was panic buying to some extent, and also the feeling that this business that used to be Kodak's would transfer to 2nd and 3rd tier companies and so they ramped up production. It was a feedback loop that caused some 'pulses' in the supply and demand chain and finally resulted in warehouse overstock.

    So, you will see bargain film out there from all defunct brands, including Agfa. It remains to be seen if these are good or not. IMHO, Agfa film was very good, but not noted for its good keeping qualities. IDK about their paper.

    I like to think of APUG and Photo Net users (particularly MF and LF people but not excluding 35mm) as being professional in their work attitude and demands, and so this possible loss in quality may be important. That is why I mention it.

    BTW. I have seen some products go through an intermediate period where they improve in quality for a time before they go downhill due to keeping. If you see some particularly spectacular results, you may find it to be a one-of-a-kind event, that will never be quite duplicated in the future.

    PE
    Forte haven't got any inventory in stock! The last two years everything had been manufactured according to orders. The products which is left is out and are the property of the Dealers. The manufacturing plant is empty exept some rolls which are to be cut and delivered as do to those last orders.

  8. #8
    copake_ham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    NYC or Copake or Tucson
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    4,092
    Images
    56
    Quote Originally Posted by uraniumnitrate View Post
    Forte haven't got any inventory in stock! The last two years everything had been manufactured according to orders. The products which is left is out and are the property of the Dealers. The manufacturing plant is empty exept some rolls which are to be cut and delivered as do to those last orders.
    This fact, in itself, says much about how shaky the business was. They were apparently manufacturing to order, which means they lacked sufficient cash flow to build inventory.

    Without carrying inventory (including work-in-progress) you cannot meet future orders. So, in fact, are not really marketing your products.

    In other words, the buy out investors "milked" the company dry.

  9. #9
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    22,713
    Images
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by uraniumnitrate View Post
    Forte haven't got any inventory in stock! The last two years everything had been manufactured according to orders. The products which is left is out and are the property of the Dealers. The manufacturing plant is empty exept some rolls which are to be cut and delivered as do to those last orders.

    Posts elsewhere here claime otherwise, IIRC.

    PE

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    283
    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Posts elsewhere here claime otherwise, IIRC.

    PE
    I wonder where do they get all that information. :-)

Page 1 of 9 1234567 ... LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin