Exports success

Pictured (l-r) are: Wendy Gibson, EEF compere; Andy Foster, Head of Marketing for The Expanded Metal Company, and Simon Muter of UKTI
Pictured (l-r) are: Wendy Gibson, EEF compere; Andy Foster, Head of Marketing for The Expanded Metal Company, and Simon Muter of UKTI

ONE of Hartlepool’s oldest firms is celebrating after winning an award for its export achievements.

The Expanded Metal Company,(EMC) based on the Longhill Industrial Estate, won the North East Region Outstanding Export Award in the EEF (formerly the Engineering Employers’ Federation) competition, sponsored by UK Trade and Industry (UKTI).

Judges hailed its achievements as an example other firms would do well to follow.

The Hartlepool-based business makes products including expanded metal mesh.

Its export levels follow the company’s increased focus on international trade after the recession affected its UK and traditional European markets.

Export and marketing teams in England worked closely with colleagues in Germany to develop a ‘campaign map’ for overseas growth.

Since 2008, EMC’s overseas sales ratios have gone from 28 per cent in 2008 to 35 per cent last year. The figure is predicted to rise again to 40 per cent by the end of this year.

Head of marketing at EMC, Andy Foster, prepared the bid document and worked closely with the export team to achieve their targets.

He said: “Our story is not unusual. Like many British manufacturers, it has been tough for us since 2008.

“To receive recognition like this is always very pleasing and the team in Hartlepool has been working incredibly hard to put our business in a more healthy position. Particular praise should be given to John Mansfield, Claire Lloyd and Michelle Harrety in our export team, who have doubled their efforts in striving for more export business.”

The Hartlepool firm will now go forward to compete against other regional winners from across the UK in EEF’s national finals on Thursday, January 26, in London.

EEF North-East membership and external affairs manager, Tony Sarginson said: “Manufacturing is crucial to the North-East’s economic recovery. Businesses like The Expanded Metal Company are leading the way by identifying and developing productive routes to overseas markets.”

The judging panel praised The Expanded Metal Company’s achievements, stating: “The judges were impressed with the company’s story highlighting it’s reaction to a declining local market by targeting offshore markets.

“Having exceeded initial targets, EMC, with its clear global aspirations, has the potential to continue flourishing.”

David Coppock, UKTI regional director, North-East, said: “There are great opportunities abroad for engineering companies and this well-deserved award shows what the benefits for companies can be. I very much hope other firms in the region follow EMC’s example and move into foreign markets.”