Leading Welsh Climbing Equipment Manufacturer Gears up for Exporting


A North Wales-based manufacturer of climbing and height safety equipment is gearing up to increase exports in the wake of COVID-19 with the support of a seven-figure funding package from HSBC UK through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

DMM, established in 1981 and based in Llanberis, designs and manufactures rock climbing, mountaineering and work at height equipment, exporting over 65 per cent of its products across the world. With the backing of HSBC UK’s CBILS loan, the business has strengthened its financial resilience, allowing it to continue to import raw materials, replace machinery and develop and manufacture new products aimed at climbers and tree care professionals.

DMM's hot forge – CREDIT Ray Wood/DMM

Over the last 10 years, DMM has pursued an export focused growth strategy. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on sales and production, the business is progressing with its plan to grow its market share in Europe and North America by establishing two dedicated in-country sales and marketing subsidiaries.  DMM's target is to triple the size of its US market share and achieve 50 per cent growth in the EU over the next six years.

Richard Rust, Financial Director of DMM, said:

“We’re a well-established business, having always produced the majority of our market-leading products here at our forge and factory in the rock climbing paradise of Llanberis, North Wales. With all that experience comes the understanding that resilience will allow us to invest in our UK factory and continue with our successful export drive. The funding from HSBC UK and the bank’s international reach has given us the confidence to make long-term decisions in the midst of difficult trading conditions.”

Peter Wilbraham, Corporate Relationship Director for HSBC UK, added:

“DMM is a fine example of a UK manufacturer that leads in its home market whilst also looking to grow its business overseas. We’ve worked with the company for more than 10 years and we look forward to seeing it launch more innovative products, reach new markets and create skilled jobs in North Wales.”

Founded by climbers, every piece of hardware bearing the DMM name is not only designed and tested but also manufactured in North Wales. The business employs 200 people and provided the iconic ice axes for the 2001 & 2018 Tomb Raider films.

DMM sponsored athlete, Emma Twyford, using DMM's Dragonfly cam on one of the UK's hardest rock climbs CREDIT Ray Wood -DMM

HSBC UK is working closely with the Government and UK Finance to identify emerging issues and make sure customers and businesses have the advice and support they need. For tips and advice for businesses around planning for any possible disruption, visit www.business.hsbc.com/novel-coronavirus.

HSBC UK has already announced the following measures for its business customers:

  • Launched BBLS, CBILS, CLBILS and CCFF
  • Allocated £5bn to help businesses that need support
  • Removed the £100 Small Business Loan fee to relieve the pressure faced by SMEs across the country
  • Removed informal overdraft fees – As of 1st April we will no longer apply any Informal Overdraft fees
  • Offering repayment holidays to free up cash within businesses
  • Stopped all unauthorised overdraft charges
  • Reviewing overdrafts or trade loans to allow stock to be held for longer
  • Offering companies involved in the supply and manufacture of ventilators preferential pricing, extended repayment terms on loans and fast track approval times to support the unprecedented demand on UK hospitals.
  • We have also extended that support to customers that can give immediate help to essential public services and vulnerable people. We are contacting clients involved in the manufacture and supply of Personal Protective Equipment to offer preferential finance and, where possible, the direct purchase of supplies and equipment for essential public services.
  • We will also offer similar terms to clients involved in the wholesale of food.
  • Our relationship managers have been proactively contacting customers to see what help their businesses need.
  • We’ve launched a coronavirus helpline to support any customer queries and a dedicated coronavirus hub on our website.
  • For businesses trading internationally:
    • £3bn to importers and exporters that need additional support
    • pre-approved 60-day extensions on trade loans for customers with a sound trade loan/financing record
    • a one-hour turnaround on the issuance of Shipping Guarantees, enabling customers to transfer or receive goods from their counterparty faster
    • a dedicated helpline that connects directly with trade finance specialists (0800 783 1300, open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday), in addition to the support being offered by relationship managers