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The history of Agfa goes back to the nineteenth century and is a long and illustrous record of innovation and technological leadership. A Belgian 'photo products' business and a German colour dye manufacturer joined forces and grew into an internationally renowned company in the graphic and healthcare industries.
Learn more about our company's history.

1867 - 1904: The Early Years
Both Agfa and Gevaert were established in the nineteenth century. Business boomed and soon the original premises became too small.

1905 - 1959: The Years of Expansion
Agfa continued to improve color photography, while Gevaert launched an innovative assortment of X-ray films on the market.

1960 - 1981: The Golden 60s and 70s
1964 was not only the year of the 125th anniversary of photography, but also the year of the historic merger between Agfa and Gevaert.

1982 - 1998: From Analog to Digital
In the 1980s and 90s, Agfa acquired a number of companies, reinforcing its leading position and acting as one of the driving forces between digitalization in the graphic and healthcare industries.

1999 - Now
In 1999, Agfa's shares were introduced on the stock market. Since then, there have been a number of strategic acquisitions and divestitures, including the sale in 2004 of all photographic activities. Agfa is now a 100% business-to-business company, fully focussed on its three business groups: Graphics, HealthCare, and Materials.

1999: Agfa goes public
On June 1, 1999, Agfa reached another milestone in its history. Agfa shares were introduced to the stock markets of Brussels and Frankfurt.
2000 - 2001: The digital (r)evolution continues
The shift towards digital technology is clearly gaining momentum. Agfa has prepared itself for the technology changes and is continuing to follow this growth path for the years to come. Agfa aims to grow in new market segments with its existing portfolio and via strategic acquisitions and alliances. In 2000, Agfa took a majority stake in the Belgian software company Quadrat, which operates in information systems for the radiology department (RIS). One year later, Agfa took a minority interest in MediVision, a developer and manufacturer of digital imaging systems for ophthalmology applications. Also in 2001, Talk Technology, North America's leading supplier of voice-enabled clinical workflow and reporting solutions for healthcare, became part of Agfa.

2002 - 2005: New developments
In 2002, Agfa acquired Mitra, one of the most important global suppliers of imaging and information management systems for healthcare. In 2005, Agfa became the largest player in Europe in the fast growing market of healthcare IT solutions through the acquisitions of Symphonie On Line and GWI. These companies are leading providers of information systems for hospitals and the electronic patient record, respectively in France and in Germany. Also in 2005, Agfa acquired Heartlab Inc., a leading American designer and supplier of image and information networks for cardiology, and Med2Rad, the leading developer and supplier of information systems for radiology in Italy.

As the only company in the graphic arts industry that offers a complete solution, including automated prepress systems, digital workflow systems, film and plates, Agfa also invested in a new plate production factory in China. Furthermore, the company strengthened its market and technology leadership in the graphic markets by acquiring a number of companies: Autologic, a US manufacturer of prepress systems for the newspaper market, Dotrix, a Belgian specialist in digital colour printing solutions for industrial applications, Lastra, an Italian manufacturer of analogue and digital printing plates and ProImage, an Israeli developer of browserbased solutions for digital workflows in printing companies.

In November 2004, Agfa divested all its photographic activities to the new, independent company AgfaPhoto.
2006: Three independent business groups
Since the beginning of 2006, the business groups Graphics and HealthCare are operationally independent. Agfa also created a third group, Materials, around its film manufacturing activities. This group manufactures film and related products on an exclusive basis for Graphics and HealthCare as well as for third parties. It also includes the Agfa Specialty Products department, which supplies a wide variety of film-based products and high-tech solutions to business-to-business customers outside the graphic and healthcare markets.
The independence of the businesses gives each group the necessary flexibility to successfully implement its growth strategy, to strengthen its competitive positioning and to control its costs in line with the changing market conditions.
2007 - now
In all Agfa's markets, the traditional film products continue to lose ground in favor of digital alternatives. Agfa Graphics focuses its R&D efforts on innovative environment-friendly digital printing plates and on industrial inkjet, which is considered to be one of the technologies that will revolutionize the printing industry. In 2010, the business group left the economic crisis behind and continued to strengthen its activities through various acquisitions and partnerships. The acquisition of Gandi Innovations allowed Agfa Graphics to extend its industrial inkjet portfolio. Furthermore, the business group consolidated its positions in the Asian and North-American markets through the establishment of the Agfa Graphics Asia joint-venture and the acquisition of the Harold M. Pitman Company.
Agfa HealthCare continues to improve and extend its imaging IT and enterprise IT solutions, as well as its range of imaging systems. In 2009, the business group added Direct Radiography to its imaging portfolio. Already an expert in Computed Radiography, Agfa HealthCare is now able to offer hospitals a tailor-made solution for all their digital X-ray needs. Also in 2009, Agfa HealthCare acquired Insight Agents, a European producer of contrast media.
In order to compensate for the decline in its traditional film markets, Agfa Materials is focusing on the development of innovative products for promising growth markets, such as synthetic paper, durable materials for the production of ID cards and conductive organic materials. www.agfa.com Agfa JPG 2000x492 logo