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.