About Nimbus - Beginnings

The History of Nimbus

Nimbus Records was founded in the early 1970s with a mission to record the performances of classical musicians.  The Company's founder, Numa Labinsky, was an exceptional singer and wanted particularly to recreate a similar sense of presence and involvement to that experienced through live performance on recordings.  He quite simply disliked records and thought they could, and should, be better.  Achieving this simple goal required repeated innovation across three decades and has, step-by-step, led Nimbus on a long journey.

Beginning in 1977, the first LPs produced by Nimbus became renowned for their exceptional quality: the standard was set and a custom pressing business evolved. By 1982/83 the emphasis was changing to compact discs, a bold step considering the youth of the technology and the prohibitive new equipment costs involved in setting up a manufacturing plant.  Nimbus decided to develop its own core technology, and within only 10 months the first Nimbus Halliday Laser Mastering System was operational.

Other vendors were not so quick and it was not until August 1984 that a fully integrated CD production plant was opened in Monmouth.  Despite the delays it was still the first in the UK, and only the second in Europe after Philips (the inventor of the format).  Expansion was rapid, with additional CD manufacturing plants in Cwmbran and Virginia, USA in 1986 and 1987.  In three years Nimbus had become one of the largest independent manufacturers in the world, and had created a powerful research and development centre in the process.  The approach of designing and manufacturing equipment 'in-house'  was firmly established.  In 1987 the Company's efforts on the Laser Mastering System were rewarded with the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement.

In 1987 a very badly timed exit by a major investor forced a very hasty equity sale - enter Robert Maxwell and The Mirror Group. Their involvement came at a time of over supply and falling prices in CD manufacturing, they continued funding but fully exploited their opportunity to acquire a majority share.  Major restructuring was being planned when Maxwell "fell of his boat" and the Mirror Group business empire collapsed in 1992. The founding directors took their opportunity to sell all interests in the CD replication factories but taking the record label, their patents and equipment designs to establish a new company.

Nimbus 'Manufacturing', as the original company was renamed, has continued to be a major force in the industry.  After the sale it was taken to the NASDAQ by the merchant bank who acquired it and tow years ago it was resold to Carlton Communications to become part of the Technicolor Group.  There is no connection between the two Nimbus' companies except that of supplier and customer on a completely arms length basis.

In 1993, under the name Nimbus Communications International, the classical music label was re-launched and Nimbus Technology & Engineering (NTE) established.  The Laser Mastering Equipment, first developed in 1983 was now regarded as a core technology for the optical disc industry and NTE immediately attracted large multi-national and small independent manufacturers as customers. Over the next eight years NTE went on to capture the largest market share becoming a Technology partner for CD and DVD with companies such as Toshiba, Time Warner, EMI, Panasonic and Technicolor.