Actually, it does add to the discussion. Off-shoring labour and manufacturing can allow some cost cutting. Kodak currently have a running agreement with Lucky Film in China. However, as reported in the financial news a few years ago, Kodak wanted a larger stake in Lucky Film than the Chinese government wanted to allow. It could very well be that they try to gain a larger share at some time in the future, or that negotiations in this matter might still be happening with the Chinese government and Lucky Film.
Originally Posted by subtxt
The implication of that might be off-shoring most film production to China. Long term might see all films produced through Lucky Film, but that would be huge speculation. Best I recall, the current agreement with Lucky Films has another sixteen (16) years to go. I think it would be quite safe to imagine Kodak, or Kodak licensed, films being available for at least that long a time period, if not longer.
A G Studio
Interesting points. Here are some possible counterarguments.
1) Ultimately, I suspect that having a production infrastructure that is "right-sized" relative to demand and allows for flexible scheduling is pretty critical to being able to sustain production profitably. Based on what several posters with specialized knowledge have posted - this hard to execute. Lucky Film has pretty substantial capacity.
2) There's an accute labor shortage in China and the government does still, to an extent, exert some influence as to where workers end up. I don't think analog photography is of great strategic value...
3) Wages are rising rather quicly in China
Here's an interesting article regarding 2 and 3:
ere's an interesting article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/03/bu...er=rssnyt&emc=
4) There are raw material shortages in China and the relative weakness of the currency makes these expensive. And silver prices, for one, are going through the roof...
Honestly, I'm not sure the UK isn't better suited for this stuff - at least for the moment. The economy is strong, but there isn't really a labor shortage and wage growth is contained, the currency is strong, and the company has manged to survive at least a couple downsizing efforts.
I'm hopeful that film production will remain viable in several parts of the world...
I guess you missed the news that Kodak has moved color film production back to the US. This has been posted here and on PN for over a year now.
So what does all these mean for Kodak B&W and color films?
I think this a good thread, it informs on possible outcomes in the Future. We should be prepared psychologically. It's a long sh*t rich betrayal since the emergence of digital. I see less and less film products in the stores around here (New Brunswick, Canada) and I constantly get the nagging from other photogs, "get a digital camera yet". Digital makes sense for anyone who isn't an artist and depends on making commercial cash here in New Brunswick. So that leaves us.
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The bottom line to me is this.
Lets assume the conventional photography line beomes independant some way or other, spun off, sold or it mutinies (don't laugh). Whatever.
It will help us because that unit will not have a digital albatross hanging around its neck rotting, and they will certainly be more cognizant of the customers needs as film and maybe paper will be their only products.
So, I think we will win either way. Kodak keeps it and we keep getting Kodak products, or Kodak divests itself of the unit and we keep getting Kodak products.
HMM..the experience so far is..Kodak kept it (B/W paper) and we stopped getting it.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Kodak sold it..(Kodak chemistry) and we can still get it.
It's a 50/50 chance either way, it seems.
Kodak "kept" B/W paper but they moved the primary facility for its manufacture to Brazil and they had already exited the paper support business.
Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE
Don't forget the chemistry business was only sold a couple months ago and that it can take considerable time for B/W chemsitry inventory to turn over. In other words the absence of any discontinued products may not make its presence known for some time.
I have not heard that anything has been discontinued yet, but let's not count the chickens yet...
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
If a management buyout can happen in the UK, I suppose it can happen here. But there's always the question of finance.
I shudder to think we'd have lost Ilford if its restructuring of a couple years back had needed to happen even 6 months later than it did. In late 2004 the real estate market in the UK was fairly cool, but it started to pick up considerably in early-mid 2005.
Well, to inject a note of pointless optimism, years ago I worked for Allied-Signal. They had some underperforming units which they spun off as the "Henley Group". Once free of Allied-Signal's sociopathic management, they did quite well, some of them actually becoming stronger (Fisher Scientific coming to mind).
Maybe a spun-off film unit can do the same, without having the challenge of meeting the required numbers for the behemoth that is Kodak. This of course is just whistling in the dark, but we can dream. Pity nobody managed to save Agfapan 100 when they could, so I wish Kodak's film division, even with a reduced portfolio, the best of luck and skill