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Tetenal is in Trouble: One of the Largest Photochemical Firms Needs Your Help

Here’s some big news in Europe that hasn’t made a big splash in the US and has largely flown under our radar: the very day after Photokina, Tetenal announced that it’s in financial turmoil. Tetenal is one of the largest photochemical businesses in the world and produces chemicals for brands like Ilford and Kodak.

Due to some bad business practices from its suppliers, Tetenal is in a state of insolvency. The film resurgence is real, but it’s still in a very fragile state. Tetenal’s collapse could potentially decimate the film photography industry.

I had a conversation with Marwan El-Mozayen, the editor-in-chief of PhotoKlassik International, on my podcast, Studio C-41, and Marwan fills us in on the situation. You can listen here:

Marwan has been in direct contact with Tetenal and the information he provided in the interview is direct from Tetenal and not hearsay. Tetenal is in a state of insolvency. What does this mean? It’s not quite a bankruptcy, but the company is in a state in which it doesn’t have the cash flow to pay the bills.

How the heck did this happen? Well, unfortunately, suppliers were unable to deliver on their goods in a timely manner and Tetenal’s business customers pulled their orders. Like a bad date, Tetenal was dumped with a dinner tab it couldn’t pay.

In the past, when these situations occurred, businesses would get emergency loans to pay back once their inventory sold. But these are different times. Financial institutions are more reluctant to act in these situations and getting the funds are difficult. It’s very risky with very little guarantee the strategy is successful for both Tetenal and the banks.

What is the result? Similar to a bankruptcy, Tetenal’s management is going through a restructuring process and looking for new ways to generate revenue. Traditionally, Tetenal’s business model was B2B (Business to Business) by converting raw materials into chemicals that were then sold to large photo businesses. This is changing and Tetenal has an ace up its sleeve. It’s looking into expanding its direct-to-consumer business model, thus opening up the opportunity in delivering new ideas and resurrecting some old ideas.

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