Edit: Good news! This looks like an ongoing story and not as doom and gloom as we originally thought. The most important thing we can do is support them!
02/01/2019: Petapixel’s new article goes into more detail about why Tetenal is important, and answers some of my previous questions.
“The company is the biggest photochemical OEM manufacturer today and most likely the largest there ever was. Even in the heyday of chemical photography, Tetenal produced chemistry for Agfa, Kodak and Ilford. Today, a hundred percent of Ilford’s and approximately 30% of Kodak’s photochemistry are produced by Tetenal, says [Photoklassik editor-in-chief Marwan] Mozayen according to his industry contacts.”
So Tetenal is important. Very much so. Best thing to take away: it’s actually the digital printing division of the company that’s dragging the company down! The traditional photochemical division is making profit, and that is what the employees are going to buy. More below, taken from Photoklassik International’s Facebook page:
“Tetenal employees want to keep producing successful products
In the aftermath of the decision to close down the firm, employees have taken the initiative to try to save the photochemical part of the organization through a management buy-out. They hope to keep producing the successful traditional photochemicals and perhaps even develop new products. Dr. Sven-Holger Undritz, head of the liquidation firm in charge of the insolvency proceedings, said today, “If the employees can make their ideas into reality, it could very well be a new start for Tetenal.” Despite the loss of many experienced workers, the firm has managed to keep producing their products without any break so far, thanks to the engagement of the remaining staff.”
If you read Petapixel’s article, Photoklassik International’s editor-in-chief Marwan Mozayen is helping with the restructuring efforts so not only is anything announced by Photoklassik straight from the horse’s mouth, but it’ll be good to have someone championing them here.
01/31/2019: Following up on my post from last December. Unfortunately the news isn’t good. Here’s a link from Emulsive. I saw it come up in my Facebook feed with a post from Photoklassik International, I’ll put that below (emphasis added):
“The End of an Era: Tetenal is bankrupt
We received confirmation today from sources inside the company that Tetenal has begun the process of shutting down after 172 years in business. The hopeful planning of company employees in December has been crushed. The consultancy and liquidation firm managing the insolvency suddenly severed communications on January 1st, and employees, including the highest levels, were terminated today without any notice. It seems very likely that the consultancy team never had any intention of doing anything except gutting the company and making money for themselves, even though they took part in “friendly and constructive” brainstorming meetings with both employees and volunteers from outside the company only a month ago. We at PhotoKlassik have been fans of Tetenal and their products, but our advice to our readers now is this: support brands that will continue to produce the products we need!”
I know that some people have expressed apathy to Tetenal’s trouble, evidently finding their products to be overpriced, and I don’t use them myself, but I’ve heard from some that they are the only manufacturer for some certain photographic chemicals. I don’t know which those are, and I don’t know how much of an impact this will have on the ecosystem. I don’t like it.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, evidently the employees are trying to organize a buyout and keep the company going after April 1, but it might be on a scaled back, as-needed basis. I wish them well and hope they can manage it, and hope they’re more willing to hear suggestions from their customers, because having easy communication lines will do a lot to making them successful.