Photo Systems to Bring Kodak Development Chemicals Back Into Production

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Michigan-based Photo Systems will bring Kodak Professional-branded development chemicals back into production after Sino Promise, the Chinese holding company that previously held the license, exited the photo chemical business this past April.

Kodak Professional-branded photo development chemicals have been on a rocky road over the past several years. Sino Promise purchased the rights to the Kodak paper and photochemical business from Kodak Alaris in July 2020. Not even a year later, it was revealed that Sino Promise was struggling financially.

The situation escalated and in September 2021, Sino Promise told its buyers that it was facing “critical supply constraints” to the U.S. market starting in the fourth quarter and warned some distributors that it would not be able to supply the market in the foreseeable future. Sino Promise also hiked prices by upward of 30%.

The holding company officially exited the development chemicals business earlier this year, floating the future of Kodak development chemistry into uncertain waters.

Following that decision, Photo Systems started negotiations with Kodak to take over the manufacturing and bring the development chemicals back into production, Alan Fischer — the CEO and founder of Photo Systems — tells PetaPixel in a phone interview.

Photo Systems specializes in legacy processes and is one of the few companies that offers chemistry for all analog processes.

“We had been manufacturing for Kodak Alaris and then Sino Promise after that,” Fischer tells PetaPixel, explaining that Photo Systems had been deeply integrated into the previous supply chains already.

“Sino exited in April, and we proceeded to discuss with Kodak licensing to take over for professional chemicals, which we did sign on September 3 of this year and we are now in the process of rebranding with our labeling and the Kodak-provided labels. We hope to be shipping the new product in the first quarter or earlier of 2024.”

As Fischer explained to photographer John Sexton for his newsletter (which was seen by Kosmo Foto), Photo Systems will bring the development chemicals back one by one. It intends to start with black and white, after which it will move on to C-41, E-6, and RA-4.

“Basically, we want to supply all the different parts of the Kodak line and hopefully have everything up and running by the middle of next year,” Fischer tells PetaPixel.