Kenko Tokina, the world’s largest manufacturer of photographic filters, announced that it has acquired 100% of the share capital of Formatt Hitech Limited (Formatt-Hitech), the world’s leading producer of ND filters for photo and cinema.
Formatt-Hitech will operate as a fully independent subsidiary corporation and continue to produce filters in the UK.
The Formatt-Hitech acquisition is a move to round out Kenko Tokina’s filter portfolio and expand their offering into cinema. Formatt-Hitech’s Firecrest brand of ND filters use an advanced rare- earth metal coating process to create the world’s most neutral ND filters. The Firecrest product has become the de facto standard in ND filters for landscape, fine art and long exposure photography. The acquisition keeps Kenko Tokina at the forefront of ND filter technology.
Firecrest has also expanded greatly into the cinema production and broadcast market due to the uniformity of the ND across different densities and due to the extremely tight tolerances for surface flatness. The Firecrest 4mm cinema filters have been independently tested and verified as having the flattest surface of any ND filter. This means that, when used on television and cinema production, the camera can be panned and tilted during a shot without introducing any surface distortion into the image.
The acquisition provides Formatt-Hitech with the financial stability to produce Firecrest in the volumes demanded by the market. The instant success and extreme popularity of Firecrest meant that Formatt-Hitech were unable to acquire the volume of raw materials needed to meet market demand, and consequently Firecrest has been on backorder with most dealers throughout the year. Kenko Tokina’s acquisition immediately rectifies the situation and it is expected that the backlog of Firecrest filters will be produced before the holiday season.
As part of the acquisition Kenko Tokina have named Mr. Fuminari Izawa as CEO of the Formatt- Hitech division. Mr. Izawa is an optical industry veteran who brings 30 years of manufacturing experience to Formatt-Hitech. Outgoing CEO David Stamp joins the Kenko Tokina executive team in an executive advisory role and will lead the integration of Kenko Tokina and Formatt- Hitech’s sales and distribution channels.
Kenko Tokina President Mr. Toru Yamanaka stated, “I am thrilled to welcome Formatt-Hitech to the Kenko Tokina family of brands. Formatt-Hitech’s technical knowledge in the development of advanced ND filters and their excellent reputation in both photo and cinema make them the perfect fit for our portfolio of world leading brands.”
David Stamp of Formatt Hitech stated, “We are very proud to have joined the Kenko Tokina family and to become part of the world’s leading filter group. The undoubted manufacturing expertise and financial strength of Kenko Tokina will enable us to maximize the potential of our exciting Firecrest product line in both the photo and broadcast / cinema production markets”.
Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “ The investment by Kenko Tokina is excellent news and I am delighted to welcome the company to Wales where it joins a long list of Japanese companies that have made highly successful investments in Wales over the past forty years.
The Welsh Government has worked closely with Formatt Hitech over a number of years and this investment is testimony to the expertise, skills and commitment of the Formatt Hitech workforce. I am pleased the acquisition not only safeguards 35 jobs in Aberdare but provides a platform for future growth and profitability.”
About Kenko Tokina
Kenko Tokina is one of the world’s leading producers of optics and is based in Japan. Kenko Tokina’s portfolio of brands includes Tokina & Tokina Cinema lenses, Slik Tripods, Hoya filters, and Cokin filters. Kenko Tokina produces and exports their goods worldwide through a network of subsidiary corporations, distributors and value-added resellers.
Formatt-Hitech filters are designed and manufactured in Wales, UK to scientific standards using award winning computerized technologies. Formatt-Hitech’s Firecrest brand of ND filters represents the next generation of technological development in the production of ND filtration for photo and cinema.