Ilford Photo fights back

The management team of Ilford Photo has reacted angrily to a factually incorrect article published in The Independent on 26 June in which a journalist referred to the company as having 'failed and disappeared'.

The offending passages have now been removed from the online version of the article but Ilford Photo has nevertheless published a statement to quell its customers' concerns.

The company has also reacted to Kodak's announcement that it is to stop manufacturing black-and-white papers by releasing a chart showing its own equivalents to Kodak's papers. This can be downloaded from the Ilford Photo website at www.ilfordphoto.com by clicking on the Monochrome Products availability list.

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Title: Ilford rescue complete
Date: 13 July 2005

The final chapter in the long-running saga of Ilford Imaging Group is near closure, with the announcement of a buyer for the company's Swiss operations.

Oji Paper, a 130-year old company based in Tokyo, has bought Ilford Imaging Group's Swiss operations for an undisclosed sum. The Swiss business is based around a manufacturing plant in Marly, in which the majority of Ilford's inkjet products are produced - including the Ilford-branded Gallerie and Printasia papers.

The plant's future, along with Ilford's distribution companies in the US, Australia and one firm operating in the Benelux countries and France, have faced uncertainty since the company went into receivership in August last year.

While the UK operations were rescued in a management buyout earlier this year, (BJP, 23 February), the German operations were closed, and the fate of the remainder of the Ilford Imaging Group rested in the hands of receivers Grant Thornton. Mark Byers of Grant Thornton is now hopeful that the remaining companies will also be bought by Oji Paper. 'Because the deal was so complicated, we decided to split the companies into two. Now the Swiss operations have been bought, we have offered Oji Paper an exclusive period to decide whether it will buy the remaining companies as well.'

The Swiss business will now operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oji Paper under the continued direction of managing director David Jones.

Urs Hauser, the site manager at Marly, predicted that there would be few changes in either the staffing levels or operations. He told BJP: 'We will continue much as we have in the last few years, with the core of our business being the inkjet papers, which are now around 80% of our revenue. I know for the time being there are no plans for any reduction in the staff.'

The move will have little impact on Ilford Photo said Phil Harris, the managing director. 'Although the plant in Mobberley, Cheshire, does some contract manufacturing of inkjet products for the Swiss company, we are separate companies. We will manufacture some products for the new owner until the end of this year but don't know what will happen beyond this.'

Source: Incisive Media Investments Ltd 2004