Tuesday, 26 Jun 2012
Danny McGlade of Plenary Project Solutions
Teesside firm tapping into Asia
Latest figures released by HM Revenue & Customs recently show that exports from the North East continued to grow during the last quarter, to reach another record high for the 12 months to the end of March 2012.
In the period January to March 2012, the North East was one of three English regions to record growth, with exports from the region reaching another record high of £3.639bn. This brings the 12-monthly total up to a record £13.75bn.
Recent figures represent an increase of 7.48 per cent for the North East on the previous 12 months (up to end of March 2011) compared to a national increase of just less than 8.59 per cent, despite a dip in the latest quarterly figures of around 2.46 per cent.
Among those already achieving international sales success is Plenary Project Solutions Ltd, in Middlesbrough, a specialist engineering company operating in the offshore oil and gas industry.
The company has benefited from a range of UKTI support services including (OMIS) reports and (G3) which it has used to explore opportunities in Indonesia and Singapore, where it has now set up an overseas office.
Danny McGlade, Managing Director at Plenary Project Solutions Ltd, said:
“Our association with UKTI has been a great experience right from the outset, assisting us in opening up overseas markets through the many solid introductions that they have enabled in several countries in which we seek to engage in business.
“This support has also included introductions to various UKTI experts from overseas during visits to the North East, which included meetings with representatives from the former-Yugoslavian countries providing us with a great deal of knowledge allowing us to better understand and explore business opportunities there.
“With UKTI support we have now increased our presence in Singapore, Vietnam and Angola and have increasingly good prospects in Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea and other countries closer to home.
“One of the greatest benefits of their support is that we now employ many more people abroad than we otherwise may have, as well as an increase in support staff here in the UK and we’re now also attracting high-value foreign companies to join us here in the North East helping to boost the local economy. If ever there was a win/win arrangement then this is it.
“We’ve also received assistance with overseas travel costs which, for a young company such as ours is welcome. The support provided by UKTI services is to be welcomed and we need more of these type of initiatives where the gains to the UK and local economies far exceed the costs of the scheme, providing more jobs and increasing private finance flowing into the local economy.”
Mr McGlade added: “Later this month we will begin work on refurbishing our head office Plenary BV House – the original home of Bolkow & Vaughan, the founding fathers of Middlesbrough. Our intent is to make the building an international business centre for other companies engaged in complimentary business to our own.
“We already have the interest of a major Italian company that wants to establish a presence in the UK and to make use of the great facilities the North East has to offer such as the riverside fabrication yards and local engineering facilities.”
The USA remains the largest single market for North East goods with a 12-month export value of £2.4bn, an increase of 20.12 per cent on the previous 12 month figure.
The region’s export values to 15 of its top 20 markets grew over the past 12 months and the fastest growing market was Israel with an increase of £87.8m or 199 per cent to give a total of £131.8m. Exports to South Africa increased by £68.23m, or 59 per cent, to £184m while exports to Russia increased by £392.92m, or 47 per cent, to give a total of £1.236bn.
Exports of Specialised Machinery, Road Vehicles and Power Generating Machinery were the fastest growing sectors in the past 12 months, showing increases of 24 per cent, 23 per cent and 20 per cent respectively on the previous year. The total for Specialised Machinery was £835m, for Road Vehicles £5.4bn and for Power Generating Machinery it was £936m.
There were also increases in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Products of 2.4 per cent to £2.38bn; Electrical Machinery of 7.7 per cent to £507m and Iron and Steel of 7.5 per cent to £387m.
Commenting on the figures, David Coppock, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Regional Director said:
“The region has enjoyed another excellent export performance this quarter – our highest recorded - and the total for the past 12 months is again at a record level for the region.
“But we cannot be complacent and we want to see even more companies stepping up to the international trade challenge, as Plenary Project Solutions has done so successfully.
“Our aim is to help create 500 new exporters over the next two years and we will be spending the next quarter encouraging and supporting firms to do this.”
He added: “Overseas markets offer a host of opportunities and there continues to be a strong demand for North East products and I would urge companies to take up the export challenge and contact UKTI to find out how we can help.”
If you are based in the North East and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact:
North East International Trade Team
Tel: +44 (0) 845 05 05 054