German contract is sweet music for IBC Trading


IBC Trading in Dundonald has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to win initial business worth over £1 million from Hohner in Germany, one of the world’s best known names in musical instruments.

IBC Trading is to supply Hohner, based at Trossingen in southern Germany, with a range of guitars and ukuleles designed and manufactured to the German company’s specific requirements, in a five-year deal following a contact made during a recent Invest NI trade mission to China.

The contract with Hohner was announced by Iain Wilson, IBC Trading’s Managing Director, and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, during a visit to the company’s premises at Dundonald Enterprise Park.

Dr Kell said: “IBC’s success with Hohner is an excellent example of how a trade mission to one market can lead directly to business in another. IBC was part of our mission to Hong Kong and Shanghai last November and met the Hohner contact during a visit to a Chinese factory specialising in the manufacture of quality guitars and other instruments.

“The prospect identified from the opportunistic conversation and was converted quickly and successfully by IBC into substantial business through strategic focus, commitment and effort. IBC is a small company which has used our trade support very effectively to develop sales in 15 markets including the US and Europe.”

Mr Wilson said: “Securing this business from Hohner, one of the most successful and respected names in the music business, is quite a coup for us. It’s currently our biggest-ever contract from a single customer and positions us for growth with a company that’s focused on expanding its product range and its global market reach.

“Invest NI missions, and other practical support from the Trade team, have been immensely important to our business over many years. The support has enabled us to explore opportunities in many international markets for our products and also to develop business relationships with suppliers. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have won the business if I hadn’t participated in the mission to China.

“It will involve us supplying guitars under the Hohner brand and ukuleles under Lanikai and Kohala, internationally recognised brands. The instruments, due for delivery before the end of this year, are now being manufactured in China and Indonesia to designs that we’ve developed with the Hohner team in Germany.

“Hohner’s decision to place what is an important contract for both companies was influenced by my fluency in German and extensive experience gained working with Chinese manufacturers over many years.

“I was able to convert what they were seeking into working designs of instruments for manufacture by our established supply network in the Far East.”

Formed in 1857, Hohner has long been regarded as the world leader in the design and manufacture of harmonicas and accordions. The company is also now a major supplier of a broad range of musical instruments to customers worldwide.

IBC Trading was formed by Mr Wilson in 2006, based on his vast experience in the music business and international sales, to design and manufacture guitars and other stringed instruments for customers in international markets.