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Leica is going Chapter 11

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I found this which may shed some light...



Leica Camera Says Banks Partially Terminate Credit Lines


Monday February 21, 10:59 AM EST


SOLMS, Germany (Dow Jones)--Leica Camera AG (LCA.XE) Monday said its creditor banks have partially terminated credit lines for the camera maker.


Following the ad hoc announcement of Leica Camera AG, Solms, of February 17, 2005, stating that the company expects a loss of half of its registered share capital in March 2005, the banks have partially terminated their credit lines.


The remaining lines still cover the current liquidity requirements. The company's board of management has entered into negotiations with the banks on a solution that will carry the Company until the time of its extraordinary general meeting on May 31, 2005, at which capital measures are to be proposed to the shareholders.

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<i><blockquote> an inside source at PMA that Leica is going Chapter 11

</blockquote> </i><p>


Like many rumors, only a kernal of truth. Chapters 7 and 11 are reorganization under

the US Bankruptcy Code, not Germany's laws. Leica's current situation, and what it as a

result does may be quite different

from what an American company does under Ch 11.

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Canon reported net income of almost $1.5 billion for the first half of 2004, and expected its net income figures to keep rising through 2005. That shows the advantage of diversification and technological advance. Leica, on the other hand, illustrates what happens to companies that stick their heads in the sand.
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<i><blockquote> May 31, 2005, at which capital measures are to be proposed to the


</blockquote> </i><p>


At which point all will probably have already been determined in negotiations with the

creditors. Shareholders (those who haven't bailed out by the end of May, and among

whom include shareholder Hermes, which will have a say in those negotiations) will

have little choice but to approve recommended measures.

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Whatever you call it, sounds like they are going into the jar. I'm not sure it means dire consequences for their existing retail customers, though it does mean all bets are off with respect to future products, etc.


I can't really see Leica disappearing just yet, though it seems likely they may get acquired by someone else (Cosina? Zeiss?) and turn into something quite different from what they have been historically.

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Don't blame Leica for not diversifying. They were part of a much larger company until fairly recently. The company was well dversified, with some divisions profitable and others less so. Leica got "spun off" into a seperate entity and could no longer depend on the other divisions carrying the burden. Until the break-up it would be difficult to determine if the bad decisions were made by the big brass in the camera division or higher up the chain of command. Now that it's an independant entity at least the people with the most at stake will be able to seek proper solutions to the long festering problems.
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I think this means someone in Japan (possibly a German classic camera nut and CEO of a large lens manufacturing company) may be doing some very careful mathematics quite soon.


We have....


Cosina - Voigtlander.


Cosina - Zeiss


Maybe a certain CEO would like a triumvirate (or troika) of favourite German brand names adorning his cameras. Either as business partners (Zeiss) or licenced brands (Voigtlander)


Leica may benefit more from a partnership with photographic companies (Cosina/Voigtlander & Zeiss) than it has with Hermes.

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Also posted today is a string about a new rangefinder camera from Zeiss Ikon. Takes film. Does this not bode well for the strength of the Leica concept, which this new camera follows? Financial reorganization is one thing, public demand is another. Usually, a bankruptcy type reorganization (as distinguished from a termination syle bankruptcy, is a sign of turn around for a company, and frequently enables the company to have a new lease on life. I am not discouraged, and view the advent of the new rangefinder camera by Zeiss Ikon as more of a boost for Leica's prospects than I view the Chapter 11 proceeding as bad news.
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99% of leica users buy used gear anyway. this should not affect most people.


to add my useless $.02 to the other useless speculations/jabs, i think it was leica's diversification (into digital) that dragged it down. it should have gotten smaller and catered more to the extreme high end if it wanted tos usrvive. a boutique business catering to anti-digital nostalgists would heve been the perfect model. look at the high end turntable companies that survived/thrived for twenty+ years after the demise of phono as a mass market product.


there still may be a chance to revive/reinvent leica as an alpa type company.

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No, they are not in "chapter 11" status, if this means bankrupt in US.


What Leica is saying though, is that they are in an alarming unstabil status. The trend is that half of their equity is consumed by spring this year. I am Swedish but I think that it is quite the same financial buziness requlations in all of EU as here. If so, they can still be saved in two ways:


They will have until end March (as I understand) to either reconstruct their equity by new capital from owners (present or new),

or reduce their registred equity to what it really is, i.e making Leica a smaller company. Forget goodwill equity value for the Leica brand market value. Thats was popular in the 90?s and banks won't go for it again.


To sum it up: If Leica Camera cuts away costs to stabilize themselves, they might still have a pretty good chans to remain an independent company. Produce in East europe or Asia as everyone else, quality can not be a problem there anymore. Possibly a better way would be someone with a lot of cash to capitalize the Leica brand in cameras and other consumer electronics (PCs with MS-Dos 3.1 maybe..:-).


Anders, Solna

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Don't know about Chapter 11, but I too hope Leica can recover.


That said, I would not be surprised to see Panasonic/Matushi*a get very involved here. (When spelled correctly, 'Matsushi*a' runs afoul of photo.net's profanity detector - LOL!)


Though personally, I'd like to see Kobayashi-san at Cosina step in because he seems to have a real respect for the history and culture of Leica cameras.


The wheel turns . . . stay tuned . . .


my two euros worth/Scott Gardner

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Given the lack of enthusiasm from all the Leica nuts here for the M7, is anyone surprised? How many of you rushed out and bought an MP? Not one euro from the used market finds its way into Leica's coffers. The cold hard reality is that there is no market to speak of for Leica's new products. It has always been a tiny niche market, and it's getting smaller.


But who really cares in the end? There's plenty of Leica gear around. One boutique company's fortunes are of little consequence. The worldwide photography business is as strong as ever, and you have a staggering array of choices before you. Now is a great time to be a photographer.

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<i><blockquote> it seems likely they may get acquired by someone else (Cosina?

Zeiss?) </blockquote> </i><p>


Panasonic, perhaps. <p>


Zeiss has a tight relationship with Sony, and already is making a Leica-mount camera.

They hardly need to buy the name, or the expensive offshore assembly system Leica

has employed. Cosina has profitably been selling cameras and lenses at a price/

performance level that consumers have been buying -- I really doubt that Cosina would

want to snap up a moribund, borderline-unprofitable like Leica. <p>


<i><blockquote> Don't blame Leica for not diversifying </blockquote> </i><p>


Yes, there are enough valid reasons for which Leica deserves blame.

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