Kodak freed from old pledges

KODAK and six other photographic film companies were yesterday released from undertakings made 26 years ago after a monopolies inquiry into the British slide film market.

The decision stems from a fundamental change in the market since the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report was published in 1966, when print film technology was still in its infancy and most colour pictures were taken on slide film.

The commission ruled that Kodak was discriminating between retailers for the supply of slide film. In addition, it and other suppliers were including a processing charge in the price of film.

Kodak agreed to end the discrimination and along with the others - such as Agfa, Ilford, Hanimex and 3m - was forced to provide films inclusive and exclusive of processing charges.

Kodak also undertook to implement a 12.5 per cent price cut and to abandon resale price maintenance. It was released from these undertakings in 1983.

Since then there has been a dramatic shift in consumer demand for colour films, making the MMC's ruling irrelevant. More than three-quarters of colour pictures are now taken on print film , which is easier to process.

The market is also more competitive and has seen the entry of Fuji, the big Japanese company.

Kodak said the DTI's decision would have no impact on today's photographers.