Of course I have no pretention to be in the owner's mind, but real estate considerations might not be excluded also from this decision (although not necesseraly in the hands of Efke's owner). This reminds me the fate of Forte. I might be wrong, but it seems to me that Ilford's plant is also under a lease agreement. What appeared a costless solution at the time of the buy-out (maybe the only feasible one, given the cash constraints, I don't know) might create some weakness, as the cost of transferring such a unit may well be a killer.
Originally Posted by ADOX Fotoimpex
At first sight, we might think that the fate of our products would be correlated to silver, I'm afraid we have also to take into account the real estate market.
Silvergrain my thoughts exactly Forte killed by the real estate business, Efke might be a victim as well. If they still coat medical films they could coat pictorial film so I don't fully buy the companies excuse. Real estate is really more profitable than the film biz.
It's very sad that Fotokemika's situation is at the point of diminishing return. When I think of the employees who rely on their operation for a living it becomes even harder to accept. I'm not sure how silver rich their films and papers are in comparison to Foma, Ilford, Kodak, etc, but it is a thing of economy of scale. If you spend more money making the product than you can reasonably charge for it, there isn't much that can be done.
Silver (and other raw materials) has become incredibly expensive, and you can view it as a similar situation to the transportation industry; take airlines, for example. It used to be that jet fuel was rather inexpensive, so the airlines could fly people to all corners of the world with fuel guzzling airplanes at reasonable prices. But then fuel prices went up, and all of a sudden their profits were gone, to the point that they have to stop handing out meals on most flights, charge for suitcases etc - basically put all those costs back with the customers. Now, with more fuel efficient engines and technology it's entirely possible to be profitable again, as difficult as it may seem, but it can be done.
Back to film - silver is like jet fuel - incredibly expensive. So what can Fotokemika do? They don't have enough R&D to redesign their films to contain less silver, so they could increase their prices. But then their market share would shrink, probably significantly. I'm sure there are those who would be willing to pay more, but what percentage of the population that uses the products today (world wide) would be willing to do that? Who's to say they would remain loyal?
I don't think for a second that it was an easy decision to make, but really, where do they go from here?
Here in the US the films are already on par with Kodak and Ilford price wise. But their papers are much lower priced. Even Foma papers are as expensive as Ilford now, so there would be a fair bit of margin expansion possible in their paper range at least. I'm not so sure about the film range, but at least it's unique enough that they aren't directly comparable to anything else. I'm sure they've weighed these options, but it would be very interesting to hear the reasoning from within the walls at Fotokemika.
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Around 14 years left on HARMAN's Mobberley site lease. I don't know whether the agreement includes further options. Unless there's a real estate crash around the time that agreement expires, it might indeed become uneconomic (or impossible) to continue Ilford"s operations there. Moving the coating and finishing equipment elsewhere would prove extraordinarily challenging, if it's even possible.
Originally Posted by silvergrain
As 2026 approaches, I'll be looking for some indication from Simon (or, if he's retired by then, whichever family member replaces him ) about what the future holds for Ilford film and paper. If things appear as bleak as they do for Kodak film today, my reaction will be similar, namely to purchase and cold store a large quantity. Until then, relax and enjoy all the fine Ilford products!
It's just as much in the interest of commercial/industrial property owners to keep reliable tenants as
it is to have a suitable and affordable facility to lease in the first place. Any going business with a
proven track record would be hard to kick out. A more ominous scenario is more akin to the family
farm - why do all the hard work of farming when you can just make a one-time huge profit chopping
the farm apart and selling the land to some sleazy cardboard-box suburban developer, or someone paving it over for yet another strip mall. Guess it all depends on the neighborhood. But land per se is
one thing, developed industrial sites another - those are a lot harder to simply "off".
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I agree about enjoying the Ilford line of products.. but also, keep supporting EFKE. Lets face it, they are closing. Fine, I'm sure we can all, sadly, live with that. But at the same time, there are employees there that will NOT be able to live with that, and will continue to need our support up until the plant is fully closed, and they have ordered the CEASE AND DESIST to the operations there.
Instead of focusing on ILFORD KODAK and FUJI products, lets keep this in line with the EFKE films...
Support them while we can!
APS, 35mm, 120, 4x5 and a Deardorff & Sons 4x5 Special under restoration.
I don't care the format, as long as it's film!
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If and by how much a product can exceed the prices of its competition and still sell depends in part on how unique it is and how much demand there is for what makes it so. I've never shot Efke film (I have a mostly full box of 4x5 Efke 100 in the freezer, courtesy of a nice gentleman who included it as a bonus with a grafmatic I bought from him, but haven't tried it yet.) In this I've heard people saying Efke is unique and hard to replace. I believe it, but would they pay twice as much for it versus adapting their technique and maybe even their style to Kodak, Ilford or Foma? I don't know, and I bet Efke doesn't either, and they aren't rolling those dice.
Plus we don't know how much more it would have to be. 10% more, people would likely still buy it if they like it. 50% more and they'd have to be pretty hard core to do so. Three times as much and no one would buy much of it. Change the numbers to suit but the principle seems accurate.
I feel badly for the employees too but there's really nothing we can do about that. I don't think buying up remaining stock will help them measurably, or maybe at all. So - buy it up if you like it and want to use it.
Thank you for your answer Merko, while its not what I wanted and was hoping to hear, I understand the reasons. Quite simply, I do not buy a lot of film, for me this is a hobby. I enjoy trying new and different emulsions and seeing what happens when I change this setting or that setting on my camera. Sometimes the results are laughable, other times they turn out really nice. I had just bought a couple rolls of the ADOX 50 art film, and am really looking forward to using them to get a picture of the full moon next week with my new (to me) 400mm lens.
The IR film at US$13 a roll is a little pricey, but it didn't stop me from buying a roll every so often when I wanted to "play" with it. Several rolls of film, and getting lost in the hills of Pennsylvania for a day is a lot cheaper and healthier than many other forms of entertainment.
Hopefully someone,somewhere can/will figure out some way to keep some of this film available in the future, and at the same time keep the employees of Efke employed.
Guys, how much for repair overall? could efke guys open donate site? i can help with money or i can order custom build parts.
please dont close the doors
I don't really want to diss the retailers but here in the UK it's virtually impossible to buy Fotokemika products. You can buy Efke Infrared, in limited formats from some retailers, and 127 film but you can't get any other films or any of their papers. The only way to get their products is to order from the US, then pay exorbitant postage and import duties. Given you can drive a truck from the UK to their factory in less than a day it is ridiculous we have to get it from the US. If the UK speciality analogue retailers want to stay in business they need to realise that they need to support the whole analogue industry not just their favourite suppliers. If the range of analogue products continues to dwindle so will the amount of young people taking up the process and they will then be left with no business.