Agfa Press Office March 26, 2008 - 5.40 p.m. CET
B – 2640 Mortsel
Decisions by the German Federal Labour
Corporate Press Relations Court concerning Agfa-Gevaert
Manager Agfa-Gevaert NV
T +32 (0)3 444 80 15
Mortsel (Belgium) – The Federal Labour Court in Erfurt (Germany) has
decided on three cases on March 20th, 2008. Former employees of
AgfaPhoto GmbH sued Agfa-Gevaert NV & Co. KG for compensation
and/or damages. Subject to the motivation of the Federal Labour Court
judgments, to be released at a later date, Agfa-Gevaert states:
The 8th Senate of the Federal Labour Court decided in two cases that the
plaintiffs are entitled to receive payments for their early retirement because the
October 2004 information letter on their transfer to AgfaPhoto GmbH was
partially incomplete. In the court’s opinion each other pending matter must be
decided on a case-by-case basis because of the different factual backgrounds.
At the upcoming trial day on July 24th, 2008 the Federal Labour Court will
presumably decide on approximately ten further cases.
Agfa-Gevaert welcomes the statement of the court as an important contribution
to the clarification of some hitherto unresolved legal issues. Agfa-Gevaert
furthermore reiterates its opinion that it fully and correctly informed all relevant
parties, and that it complied with all legal consultation requirements against the
background of an uncertain legal environment. The contents of the information
letter were drafted together with Mr Emans and his advisors, and were
subsequently approved by the employee representatives.
In the third case, the court dismissed the claim filed by a former AgfaPhoto
employee. He sued Agfa-Gevaert for a severance payment as damages
although he did not object to his transfer to AgfaPhoto at the time. The court
stated that a later objection against the business transfer cannot be declared
indefinitely. Agfa-Gevaert considers this decision as a confirmation of its position
that there will no further claims for damages beyond the current limited number
At the time of the sale of the Consumer Imaging business to AgfaPhoto in
November 2004, Agfa-Gevaert was convinced that the transaction was the best
solution for the employees. With a few exceptions, all relevant employees
transferred to AgfaPhoto GmbH, and thus to a new, legally and operationally
independent company. Following the insolvency of AgfaPhoto GmbH, Agfa-
Gevaert agreed to support the financing of an employment and placement
company (“Beschäftigungs- und Qualifizierungsgesellschaft” - “BQG”) so as to
ease the social burden resulting from the insolvency for its former employees.
Through this BQG many of the former AgfaPhoto GmbH employees could be
offered new jobs with third parties within the one-year-period during which they
were allowed to remain within the BQG.
Also, Agfa-Gevaert offered financial support for many employees, who – due to
their individual employment status – would otherwise have been affected
severely as a result of the AgfaPhoto insolvency.
Agfa-Gevaert finally declares: The allegation made by various plaintiffs and
repeated by the media that Agfa-Gevaert had “threatened” former employees to
agree to the business transfer, is utterly wrong and unfounded. At the time of the
business transfer the insolvency of AgfaPhoto GmbH was not predictable. Agfa-
Gevaert can therefore not be held responsible for the social consequences
caused by the insolvency.
As already mentioned before, Agfa-Gevaert has constituted sufficient provisions
for justified claims by former employees.
Corporate Press Relations Manager
Tel. ++32 (0)3/444.8015
Director Corporate Communication
Tel. ++32 (0)3/444.7124
Fax. ++32 (0)3/444.7485