Harman Technology

Read time: 3 mins        Added date: 09/07/2024

How we've helped an SME camera film manufacturer to develop a new product range and expand its export markets.

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Photo firm Harman Technology is focused on exports

Harman Technology has an international reputation for its black and white photographic films. With the backing of Lloyds Bank, it’s now exporting its new colour film to photographers around the world.

The Cheshire-based business is one of a very small handful of companies in the world that still manufacture camera film at scale since the technology was overtaken by digital photography. Harman’s products have an unrivalled reputation among black and white photographers around the world; its ILFORD branded films are sold in more than 85 countries, making up around 90% of revenues.

However, Harman had never made colour film, which Managing Director Greg Summers felt was a missed opportunity as analogue photography was enjoying a revival. The global film camera market was set to reach almost £311 million by 2030, growing by 5.2% each year from £223.2 million in 2023. The timing seemed right for Harman to make its move, so Greg challenged his team to develop Harman’s first ever colour film. The secret project soon paid dividends.

Harman Technology - photo cameras

A global growth opportunity

Greg said: “We are so well known for our black and white films that we are asked regularly why we don’t make colour films. It was initially an experiment to explore what was possible, but what we achieved in such a short space of time is quite remarkable.”

Harman didn’t have the machinery to manufacture the potentially transformative new product, so Greg turned to Anthony Tsui, Associate Director – Trade and Working Capital, Lloyds Bank.

Convinced by Greg’s business case, Anthony arranged a multi-million pound funding package. This included Capital Import Financing and Export Financing, as well as investment to double Harman’s manufacturing capacity. 

The Capital Import Finance supported its capex investment and mitigated the risk of upfront payments to overseas suppliers. While the Export Financing helped fund the transport of its goods to market once they were manufactured. As a result, Harman commissioned two custom-built finishing machines – the first to be built since before the millennium – to manufacture its new colour film cartridges.

 

Exporting

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Strategic support

“Lloyds Bank’s tailored approach to supporting firms’ global ambitions starts with understanding how the client trades and all the associated risks and opportunities they face. We have supported a diverse range of businesses’ export plans, which means we are well positioned to provide those meaningful conversations.” said Anthony. 

“Harman – like so many British brands – enjoys an international reputation for quality and excellence, and it was clear its latest innovation presented an outstanding growth opportunity.”

The new film represented a rebirth for the business, and so was christened Phoenix. It was a big leap. But Phoenix launched in early 2024, making waves with photographers around the world and opening up a whole new market for Harman for the first time in its 145-year history.

The future of film

Greg Summers, Managing Director, Harman Technology

“We’re seeing new people fall in love with film photography every day. So it’s a better time than ever to push resources into our team and build on the market’s momentum. The backing of Lloyds Bank’s International Trade team not only means that we can take this amazing opportunity, but also that we can manage the risk that comes with it. The investment reinforces our determination to safeguard the future of analogue film for photographers everywhere.”

Greg Summers, Managing Director, Harman Technology

Anthony added: “Any business that is considering entering new markets overseas should get in touch as early as possible so that we can work with you to support your strategy. Identifying the market is of course key, as is understanding any trade controls in that country, which may include licencing requirements. We take a straightforward approach to how we can best support you, your supply chain and buyers.”

 

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Important legal information

Lloyds Bank is a trading name of Lloyds Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH.

Lloyds Bank plc. Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065. Bank of Scotland plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland no. SC327000. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Registered office 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 10399850. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278, 169628 and 763256 respectively.

Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH has its registered office at Thurn-und-Taxis Platz 6, 60313 Frankfurt, Germany. The company is registered with the Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, HRB 111650. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is supervised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht.

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