Agfa-Gevaert N.V. (Agfa) is a Belgianmultinational corporation that develops, manufactures, and distributes analogue and digital imaging products and systems, as well as IT solutions. The company has three divisions. Agfa Graphics offers integrated prepress and industrial inkjet systems to the printing and graphics industries. Agfa HealthCare supplies hospitals and other care organizations with imaging products and systems, as well as information systems. Agfa Specialty Products supplies products to various industrial markets. It is part of the Agfa Materials organization. In addition to the Agfa Specialty Products activities, Agfa Materials also supplies film and related products to Agfa Graphics and Agfa HealthCare.
In the past, Agfa film and cameras were prominent consumer products. However, in 2004, the consumer imaging division was sold to a company founded via management buyout. AgfaPhoto GmbH, as the new company was called, filed for bankruptcy after just one year. The brands are now licensed to other companies by AgfaPhoto Holding GmbH, a holding firm. Following this sale, Agfa-Gevaert's commerce today is 100% business-to-business.
Headquartered in Mortsel, Belgium, Agfa has sales organizations in 40 countries. In countries where Agfa does not have its own sales organization, the market is served by a network of agents and representatives. At the end of 2011, the company had 11,728 employees (full-time equivalent permanent) worldwide. Agfa has manufacturing plants around the world. The largest production and research centers are based in Belgium, the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and China. Net sales for 2011 totaled 3,023 million euros.
Agfa is organized into three business groups as follows:
1894 The company L. Gevaert & Cie was founded in Antwerp, Belgium, arising from the workshop for the manufacture of photographic paper belonging to Lieven Gevaert.
1897 Appearance of the Agfa trade mark.
1898 Introduction of X-ray plates and film products.
1903 Production of first cinematographic film.
1925 As part of the consolidation of the German chemical industry, Agfa became part of IG Farben. The photographic activities are combined with those of Bayer, including a camera factory in Munich.
1928 Acquired Ansco, an American photographic manufacturer, whose products were sold under the Agfa-Ansco brand name.
1936 Agfacolor Neu a pioneering color film for amateurs and professionals.
1940 Agfacolor negative-positive color material is used for the first time for a feature film "Frauen sind doch bessere Diplomaten" (Women are the better diplomats) by the German UFA production company.
1942 Introduction of intensifying screen products.
1945 When the Allies broke up IG Farben to reduce the size of German chemical industry, Agfa reappeared as an individual business. An Agfa plant located in what was to become East Germany became the foundation of ORWO.
1952 Re-establishment of Agfa AG as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer in Leverkusen.
1964 Merger of Agfa AG and Gevaert Photo-Producten N.V. with Bayer AG and Gevaert each holding a 50% interest in the new operating company.
1972 Introduction of mammography film / screen products.
1981 Bayer buys out Gevaert and becomes 100% owner.
Acquisition of Insight Agents, a European developer and producer of contrast media.
Acquisition of Gandi Innovations, a producer of large-format inkjet systems.
Agfa Graphics and Shenzhen Brothers create the Agfa Graphics Asia joint venture to reinforce their position in the Greater China and ASEAN region.
Acquisition of the Harold M. Pitman Company a US supplier of products and systems for the graphic industry.
2011 Acquisition of WPD, a Brazilian supplier of healthcare IT systems.
Agfa photographic products
In 2004, Agfa-Gevaert withdrew the consumer market, including photographic film, cameras and other photographic equipment.
Because Agfa-Gevaert still produce photographic films for the aerial photography market, it is still possible to buy fresh, Agfa-produced photographic films for use in consumer cameras. These are sold by the Lomography Society and Rollei and are branded accordingly. This is because those companies purchase the aerial photography film from Agfa-Gevaert, and then cut and package it into consumer photographic formats.
As of 2012, such products carry a small Agfa logo discreetly on their packaging, but are not sold as Agfa branded products.
By contrast, Agfaphoto branded photographic films are not made by Agfa-Gevaert at all, originally having been made by the now closed Ferrania plant in Italy. Agfaphoto films are now produced by Fujifilm in Japan for Lupus Imaging Media.
While former AGFAPHOTO, has disappeared, the surviving Belgian Branch of AGFA continues to produce, among other things, b/w, colour negative and colour reversal materials for aerial photography. Some of these are cut to the usual 135 and 120 formats by MACO PHOTO and distributed under the brand name ROLLEI. Specifically, these re-branded AGFA materials include ROLLEI RETRO 80S, 200S and 400S, DIGIBASE CN200 and CR200.
Agfa Darkroom Equipment
Agfa Varioscop, b&w and color head, Agfa Variomat C (about 1954)
Agfa Varioscop enlargers
Agfa Variomat print easels for automatic exposure
Darkroom safety lights
Agfa Rondinax and Rondix daylight developing tanks
Agfa photographic papers were of very high quality and included brands such as:
The production of material identical to the last generation of fibre-based and resin coated photographic AGFA MULTIGRADE papers has been resumed by ADOX.