Agfa-Gevaert N.V. (Agfa) is a European multinational corporation which develops, manufactures and distributes analogue and digital products and systems for the making, processing, and reproduction of images. It is an imaging technologies company with three main divisions: healthcare, graphics and materials.
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 business today is 100% business-to-business.
In February 2007, Agfa-Gevaert announced their intention to split into three independent publicly-traded companies (reflecting the activities of their remaining three divisions - healthcare, graphics and materials) to be listed on Euronext by the end of the year.
End of April 2008, Agfa-Gevaert announced that the split into three independent companies, as originally planned, no longer is a realistic scenario. The Board of Directors is examining a number of alternative options to reinforce the market position of the business groups and create shareholder value.
Headquartered in Mortsel
, Agfa has sales organizations in 40 countries, representation in 120 countries, and 13,565 employees (full time equivalent permanent - Dec. '07) worldwide. Agfa has manufacturing plants in 10 countries, including Belgium, Germany
, and the United States
. Net sales for 2007 totaled 3.3 billion euros
Agfa is organized into three business groups as follows.
Digital and analogue prepress
and Information Management
Consumables (motion picture
sound recording and print film, microfilm
, film for non-destructive testing) for specific markets.
- 1867 The company Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation (Corporation for Aniline Production) was founded in Rummelsburg (now in the Lichtenberg borough of Berlin) as a manufacturer of dyes and stains. It became a public limited company in 1873. The founders were Paul Mendelssohn Bartholdy (son of composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy) and Carl Alexander von Martius.
- 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.
- 1912 Bayer builds a factory in Leverkusen, in which film chemicals and later also photographic papers are manufactured.
- 1922 Introduction of double sided medical film products.
- 1925 As part of the consolidation of the German chemical industry, the photographic activities are combined with those of Bayer, including a camera factory in Munich.
- 1932 Introduction of low dose X-ray film products.
- 1937 Introduction of Agfacolor-Neu reversal color film.
- 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.
- 1941 American assets were seized as enemy property and became Ansco.
- 1942 Introduction of intensifying screen products.
- During the Second World War Agfa became part of IG Farben, a conglomerate of all German chemical industries. When the Allies broke up IG Farben after it was found guilty of war crimes, 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.
- 1988 Acquisition of Compugraphic Corporation.
- Sale of magnetic tape business.
- Introduction of Computed Radiography (CR) products.
- 1994 Introduction of PACS products.
- 1996 Acquisition of Hoechst's printing plate and proofing business.
- Acquisition of Dupont's offset printing and graphic arts film business.
- Sale of the company's Copier Systems business to Lanier Worldwide Inc.
- Acquisition of CEA AB.
- Acquisition of Monotype Typography Inc.
- Acquisition of Sterling Diagnostic Imaging.
- Separation of Agfa from Bayer. Initial public offering of Agfa-Gevaert shares on June 1. Agfa listed on Brussels and Frankfurt stock exchanges.
- Acquisition of Krautkramer, a producer of ultrasonic systems for non-destructive testing.
- Acquisition of Quadrat, a Ghent based European producer of radiology information systems.
- Acquisition of Autologic, an American producer of systems for prepress automation.
- Acquisition of Talk Technology, a producer of medical voice recognition systems.
- Acquisition of the German company Seifert and the American company Pantak, producers of industrial X-ray equipment for non-destructive testing applications.
- Acquisition of a minority interest in MediVision, a developer and manufacturer of digital imaging systems for ophthalmology.
- Agfa stopped its desktop scanners and digital camera business in September 2001. Agfa does not provide any further support.
- 2002 Acquisition of Mitra Imaging Inc., a developer of medical imaging and information systems for healthcare.
- Opening of new printing plate factory in Wuxi, China.
- Sale of non-destructive testing business to General Electric.
- Acquisition of Granite Systems, a producer of software drivers for printers, multifunction devices and digital presses.
- Acquisition of Dotrix, a Belgian producer of digital color printing systems for industrial applications.
- Acquisition of Lastra, an Italian manufacturer of plates, chemicals and equipment for the offset printing industry.
- Sale of the consumer imaging division to a company founded via management buy out, named AgfaPhoto, and held by an investment company. Agfa grants permission for AgfaPhoto to use the Agfa name in perpetuity. After one year, AgfaPhoto files for bankruptcy.
- Acquisition of ProImage, an Israeli developer of browser-based digital workflow solutions for the newspaper and printing industries.
- Acquisition of Symphonie On Line, a French information technology company and developer of EPR (electronic patient record) systems.
- Sale of Agfa Monotype Corporation, a provider of fonts and font-related software technology, to Boston based private equity investor TA Associates.
- Acquisition of GWI, a German developer of healthcare information systems for medical records, nursing, business management, and facility administration.
- Acquisition of Heartlab, Inc., a U.S. developer of cardiology image and information management systems.
- Acquisition of Med2Rad an Italian developer of radiology information systems.
- Introduction of industrial inkjet products.
- Agfa announced a worldwide restructuring, by 2008 2000 jobs will be lost.
- Belgium bank KBC yields its 27% shares in Agfa .
- In February, Agfa-Gevaert announced its intention to split into three independent publicly-traded companies, effective May 1st. Now the companies are Agfa Graphics for all press and pre-press market, Agfa HCES for healthcare IT, and Agfa Materials for the factories.
- Split up postponed to mid-summer 2008
- End of April, Agfa-Gevaert announced that the split into three independent companies, as originally planned, no longer is a realistic scenario. The Board of Directors is examining a number of alternative options to reinforce the market position of the business groups and create shareholder value.