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  1. #81
    omaha's Avatar
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    This is a little off topic, but this thread seems as good a place as any to ask. I hope PhotoEngineer or others with deep industry insight can offer a comment.

    It seems that the world of B&W has stabilized. From what I've read here and there, Ilford is making money, selling into a market that is a tiny fraction of its former self. They've managed, it would seem, to properly size their operation for the reality of what sales can be expected, and its working. Good for them.

    My question is whether such a thing is even theoretically possible with color film. What I mean is that, suppose worldwide demand for (to pick an example) Ektar 100 is "X" units per year going forward. And lets even suppose that that demand level is stable or maybe even growing a bit (but still a shadow of what it was 15 years ago). Is it possible, in theory, to make Ektar at the volume levels indicated by current demand and make money doing it? Today, the market price for 120 is right at $5 per roll. So, what's the plant getting out of that? $2 or so? Can you make Ektar profitably at those prices and today's volumes, or are there certain minimum volume requirements necessary to get the economies of scale in place, and without them the pricing would have to be dramatically higher?

    As an aside, I could see paying maybe up to $10 per roll, but above that, I'd really have to think about it.

    What about quality? Are there similar considerations of minimum required volumes in order to achieve the quality and consistency standards we've come to enjoy?

    I wish I knew what these numbers look like. How many rolls of Ektar 120 will be sold in 2014? I think about that, and then think that if the number is less than, say, 10 million, that makes film production a really, really tiny business. I mean, 10 million units at a loading dock price of $2 ea is only $20 million gross revenue per year to the plant. So I wonder if my 10 million estimate is wrong, but intuitively, I can't imagine sales being that high. Maybe I underestimate the market. Who knows.

    Anyway, if that is in the ballpark of the actual demand, then you could have a nice (little) business going if you sold $20 million per year against a materials and direct labor cost of $1 per roll, leaving you $10 million for administration and advertising and debt service and all the rest.

    But like I said, I have no idea if that guesstimate of the market is anywhere near reality, just as I have no idea if it would be even theoretically possible to produce a quality product at those volume levels.
    I shoot digital when I have to (most of those shots end up here) and film (occasionally one of those shots ends up here) when I want to.

  2. #82
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Here is a question for you gurus. What happens if film sales continue as-is or grow, but nevertheless the value of the property becomes greater than the value of the product being manufactured on the property? Now, with a long term lease you are safe, but eventually, things catch up with you.

    Yep, they catch up and you find that your plant is being sold for the ground it sits on. Then, a new condo arises there and your plant is no more.

    This, BTW, was a small but real factor in the demise of EFKE I have been told.

    PE

  3. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Yep, they catch up and you find that your plant is being sold for the ground it sits on. Then, a new condo arises there and your plant is no more.

    Despite the name 'Park', I doubt anyone would want to build condos there.

  4. #84
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    In this case, PARK is KRAP backwards.

    PE

  5. #85
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    In this case, PARK is KRAP backwards.


    Nicely played...

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  6. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Here is a question for you gurus. What happens if film sales continue as-is or grow, but nevertheless the value of the property becomes greater than the value of the product being manufactured on the property? Now, with a long term lease you are safe, but eventually, things catch up with you.

    Yep, they catch up and you find that your plant is being sold for the ground it sits on. Then, a new condo arises there and your plant is no more.

    This, BTW, was a small but real factor in the demise of EFKE I have been told.

    PE
    A large area of the property where the Ilford factory stands is empty and it's in a prime and expensive residential area. The development plans, all currently in the public domain and on the web, use the larger part of the site for quality residences, and provide a new small purpose-built factory for Ilford on the remainder. Presumably much more economical and suitable for them than the large 1960's buildings. (And you could almost carry most of the smaller equipment across the park
    to the new factory, so no massive moving logistics or costs. )

  7. #87
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    In this case, PARK is KRAP backwards.

    PE


    Nicely played...

    Ken
    Wow Ken took the words out of my mouth!
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  8. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Here is a question for you gurus. What happens if film sales continue as-is or grow, but nevertheless the value of the property becomes greater than the value of the product being manufactured on the property? Now, with a long term lease you are safe, but eventually, things catch up with you.

    Yep, they catch up and you find that your plant is being sold for the ground it sits on. Then, a new condo arises there and your plant is no more.

    This, BTW, was a small but real factor in the demise of EFKE I have been told.

    PE
    That's what happened to Forte in Hungary.

  9. #89
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by railwayman3 View Post
    A large area of the property where the Ilford factory stands is empty and it's in a prime and expensive residential area. The development plans, all currently in the public domain and on the web, use the larger part of the site for quality residences, and provide a new small purpose-built factory for Ilford on the remainder. Presumably much more economical and suitable for them than the large 1960's buildings. (And you could almost carry most of the smaller equipment across the park
    to the new factory, so no massive moving logistics or costs. )
    Hope they remember to leave sufficient room for color...



    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  10. #90
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    To properly "install" coating equipment the machines must be anchored to the ground in such way that passing traffic does not cause defects in the coatings. Also, the machines must be carefully aligned to prevent kinks. So, moving is not the problem. It is down time and alignment which up the expense of any move.

    If Ilford moves (and I did not mean to imply that in my post in any way) it will be very costly in terms of time and money. Most of you do not realize this. It is similar to a chip production area. Moves cause defects.

    PE

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