Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/11/28

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica as a business
From: Alex Hurst <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 22:11:03 +0000

Nathan wrote (in part):

> With the current trend in their financials, they will be out of
>business (worst outcome) or swallowed up by someone else (could be OK
>depending on the acquirer).

Too true. Leica, like of lot of businesses, seem to have forgotten that the
primary point of being in business is to make an adequate profit.

A takeover would be no good at all unless they get the financial
fundamentals right.

It's all very heroic to say that "Our goal is to produce the finest lenses
and cameras in the world"
But that doesn't necessarily pay the wages, fund the R&D, and deliver to
shareholders the dividends they expect.

The SL2 has gone down in history as the world's finest SLR at the time, and
Leitz lost a bomb on every one they made. I wonder how the R8's

Even Barnack wouldn't have got off the ground with the Ur-Leica without
Ernst Leitz's brave decision to test uncharted waters by investing some of
the profits from his highly successful optical instrument business.

But don't forget this isn't just a Leica problem. I read somewhere that
most of the major Japanese camera manufacturers are currently losing a
fortune because of the deep recession in their home markets.

Leica, however, are in more trouble than most. They are a niche market
player, and yet they give every appearance of not knowing who their markets
are, and, more important, how to address their future needs as well as
their current ones. To quote my wife in our modest business: "If you're not
ahead, you're behind".

The nearest analogy I can think of is Rolls Royce. Wonderful cars, but
outdated technology. I hope their new (German) owners can do better.



Alex Hurst
Nr. Cork

Tel: +353 21 543 328 (H)
     +352 21 270 907 (W)

Fax: +353 21 271 248
Home website:
Business website: