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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Cumbrian companies named 'export champions'

Five Cumbrian firms were today hailed as ‘Export Champions’ by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

Tata Steel’s projects business in Workington, Hidef Aerial Surveying in Cleator Moor, Pirelli in Carlisle, and Playdale Playgrounds and Wax Lyrical in Ulverston have been singled out for excellent performances.

The awards are part of a drive by Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green to increase the number of British exporters by a quarter, which would boost the economy by £36 billion.

The idea is that Export Champions will inspire novice exporters to pursue overseas markets.

Clive Drinkwater, UKTI’s regional director, is due to visit Wax Lyrical and Tata Steel this week.

He said: “A year ago I challenged the north west business community to work with us to find 1,000 new exporters this year and we are well on our way.

“I am delighted to announce Wax Lyrical and Tata Steel will be amongst our new ‘export champions’ who will become a beacon to inspire non-exporters to get started and new exporters to do more.”

Tata Steel’s projects business employs 350 people in Workington. It provides consultancy, design and engineering services to the energy, defence and security, construction, transport and nuclear sectors. Exports are worth £2m a year. It has recently doubled the size of its business-development team in a bid to drive up exports.

Operations director Craig Haughin said: “Exports have always been part of our business but we are now working with UKTI to increase the amount of trade we have in existing markets and expand to new markets.

“We are putting a lot of resources behind our export drive and have recently been to France and India.

“We are looking to target new business in Russia and Ukraine.”

Pirelli is investing £9m to increase production at its Dalston Road tyre factory in Carlisle, topped up by £2m from the Government’s regional growth fund.

Much of the output of high-performance and sports-utility-vehicle tyres is exported.

Hidef uses leading-edge technology to provide aerial survey and mapping services. Its unique digital-video system is capable of resolving highly detailed images of marine wildlife over huge areas of sites for offshore windfarms.

The United States is a key market. The business also exports to Germany, Belgium, Holland and Denmark.

Wax Lyrical cleaned up at the CN Group Business Awards. The company won ‘medium business of the year’ while owner and chief executive Mike Armstead was named ‘businessperson of the year’.

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