Leica, one of photography's iconic institutions could be on the verge of collapse
Leica's booth here at PMA was tellingly small
Yesterday (Monday) during a meeting on one of the bigger booths here at the PMA show in Orlando, someone mentioned - "have you heard the news?" That news was that Leica Camera AG, the legendary German camera and lens marque, had received the shocking news that six major banks had withdrawn lines of credit.
Only three days earlier the company had publicised proposals to reorganise itself in the face of mounting debts. The banks' response indicates those proposals failed to impress.
On Saturday when the PMA show opened, I made a mental note of how small and sparse the Leica booth was, but then thought nothing of it. I would call by later to get an update on their long-delayed R-series DSLR module. Instead, Leica is making headlines of exactly the worst kind.
The news has quickly spread around the show and there is much speculation concerning what will happen if the holding company doesn't survive. Leica staff on their PMA booth would only say that an announcement would be made sooner or later.
Will Leica's own hardware survive under new ownership? How will Panasonic, Leica's key partner in the Lumix digital camera brand, react? Or will Leica be saved? Let's hope this much cherished of photographic institutions lives on in some form.
We'll bring you further news as we receive it.