A North East manufacturer and supplier of professional audio and visual equipment, whose products are widely used by all broadcasters and live event companies, has secured the backing of Lloyds Bank to enable it to continue trading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canford designs, manufactures and sells its products, which range from cabling and audio adapters through to microphones, headphones and mixers, from its bases in Washington and Portland. Due to coronavirus it has revised its projected turnover for the coming months with demand for its products dropping – to zero in the case of concerts and sports coverage – requiring it to furlough some of its staff.

To support its cashflow at this time it has used the support of Lloyds Bank with a £600,000 loan through the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) over a 12-month period. The business has the option to repay the loan sooner should demand for its products return to normal in the coming months.

Canford was founded in 1976 and has been a customer of Lloyds Bank since 1984. Its owners used the bank last year as part of the process of selling the business into an Employee Owned Trust held by its 140 members of staff. Its last financial year was the most successful to date, with post-tax profits of £940,000 on a turnover of £17.8 million.

John Francis, a director of Canford, said: “We’ve worked alongside Lloyds Bank throughout every period of the economic cycle, as shown by our sale into the employee trust last year. What we’ve found through working closely with Michael and his team is help, advice and support that is full of insight and always readily available.

“These are uncertain times but, with the backing of our banking partners, strong businesses like ours will emerge at the other side to play a key part in the wider economic recovery.”

Michael Hindhaugh, relationship director for SME banking at Lloyds Bank, said: “We’re fully aware of how well-run Canford is and its importance as an employer in the North East, having worked closely with it for the last 36 years.

“Making the decision to provide it with the CBILS to plug a short-term gap in cashflow was an easy one for us and it’s testament to the hard work of our team that they did it in just 10 working days. We’re proud of the role we’re playing in supporting the North East’s business community at this time and look forward to seeing Canford’s success in the future.”