Just champion

By Lancashire Business View

19 Sep 2017

In the post-Brexit world that is slowly emerging, export skills and success will be more vital than ever for UK plc.

Lancashire businesses of all types and sizes are already hard at work, selling their goods and skills across the globe, opening up new markets and expanding existing ones.

They are our Lancashire Export Champions featured in the current issue of Lancashire Business View. Over the next few weeks we will also be highlighting the great work just some of them are doing here on our new-look website.

We’re looking at the innovators who are proudly flying the flag across the globe. They may not be the biggest in terms of export numbers but they are showing the way forward for other Lancashire businesses looking to sell overseas.

The businesses featured here, and countless others across the county, have a global outlook and attitude that is delivering overseas success. And they have great stories to tell. So meet our first set of Lancashire Export Champions…

What More UK

This year sees the launch of several new ranges of plastic houseware, enamel and bakeware collections as What More continues to invest heavily in new product design for the home.

The Padiham-based business exports more than 800 products to 64 countries and is the nation’s largest manufacturer of plastic housewares, gardening and storage products.

Founded in 1999, What More has generated powerful growth through acquisition, and product development. After winning the Queen’s Award for Exports in 2014, What More has kicked on. It is now focused on doubling its £50m turnover by 2025.

Director Tony Grimshaw puts success down to recruiting good people, product development, and investing in new equipment. Successful overseas markets include the USA.

Vision Support Services

International market growth of more than 60 per cent enabled Vision Support Services to win a place on the shortlist for the 2017 Lloyds Bank Exporter of the Year Award.

In the last year the Blackburn-headquartered company has integrated its three operations – Hilden, Liddell and Whitakers – as well as restructuring its business model, streamlining its proposition and achieving high growth targets domestically and overseas.

Vision Support Services sets itself apart in the marketplace through its global operations network. This includes employees on the ground in key sourcing regions, along with more than 50 manufacturing partners and over 20 global distributors.

Booths

The 168-year-old retailer may be having challenging times at home but it is looking to expand its horizons. It entered the export market after striking a deal to sell its products in 20 Malaysian shops, cashing in on high demand for British heritage brands. The export venture sees Booths – dubbed the Waitrose of the North – supplying a high-end deli Jason’s Food Hall.

Booths says its market presence in the Far East has created substantial international interest in its products, with sales generating volume for its factories and advertising the Booths brand to potential customers. The Preston-headquartered chain has shops across the North West.

Tangerine

Specialist manufacturer Tangerine is driving strong growth on the back of impressive exports sales.

Founder and chairman David Haythornthwaite says overseas sales have seen profits rise by 13 per cent to £2.5m in the year to 30 June 2016. He added that in the nine months since profits have continued to rise by 43 per cent.

The Lytham St Annes-headquartered business makes health and nutritional products for the veterinary, pets and agricultural animals markets. Latest filed accounts show that turnover rose by 26 per cent to £23.2m, with export sales accounting for 45 per cent of the total, compared to 39 per cent in the previous year.

Star Tissue

The hygiene paper products manufacturer based in Blackburn exports toilet rolls, centre feed rolls, medical rolls, large wiping rolls and roll towel.

Star Tissue recorded turnover of £17.8m last year – a 100 per cent increase in the last three years.

The business has seen a substantial turnover growth in Ireland, where it doubled sales from 500,000 to one million units in the last 12 months.

It also exports to Germany and – depending on the outcome of Brexit – is looking to open up markets in the Netherlands and Northern France, where the transport costs are little more than moving its goods to southern England.

Look out for more of our Lancashire Business View Export Champions next week

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