Agfa sells film unit for €175.5m

German private equity firm Nanno has agreed to buy the loss-making consumer film unit of Agfa, the Belgian-based imaging company.

Nanno, a German private equity firm, has acquired 55 percent of the consumer film unit of Belgian-based imaging company Agfa-Gevaert in a transaction valued at €175.5 million ($216.5 million), according to press reports.

Nanno led a consortium including US investors Abrams Capital and Highlands Capital who each acquired a ten percent stake, with management holding the remaining 20 percent.

The deal was carried out through a newly-formed company called AgfaPhoto which will acquire a license from Agfa for licensing of photo film products going forward.

The consumer imaging division acquired by Nanno has been struggling this year with sales falling almost 20 percent to approximately €360 million and losses increasing by 20 percent to almost €30 million for the six months to the end of June this year.

According to Financial News, Agfa-Gevaert attempted to sell the consumer film unit in 2001 to Permira, but a price could not be agreed. Analysts at the time valued the division at approximately €500 to €750 million.

The consumer film unit has suffered from competition in the marketplace from rivals such as Eastman Kodak and Fujifilm, as well as the general consumer drift to digital imagery and products.

The transaction was led for Nanno by managing director Hartmut Emans who told Dow Jones Newswires: “We will run AgfaPhoto as a medium sized company with maximum flexibility to adapt to the fast changing market environment.”

AgfaPhoto will employ 2,870 people, mainly in Germany, although cost-cutting measures are likely to be introduced by the management team: “Some functions will be outsourced,” said Emans.