By Daniel Hunter

The new head of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Germany, paid a visit to Leicestershire’s PGM Re-Ball and Colwick-based Newson Gale this week to find out how they are flying the flag for British manufacturing overseas, having increased exports.

Dan Rutstein, Director of UKTI in the British Embassy, based in Berlin, visited the firm’s HQs as they announced new orders of over £250K each.

The visit came during Growth Month, a major effort by UKTI, in collaboration with MAS, GrowthAccelerator and other partners, to help firms across the East Midlands to grow.

Re-Ball, based in Hinckley, announced the order with a leading German firm, which takes their total orders for Germany to £1 million. The success means they will be moving to larger local premises next year. The firm currently employs 12 people to manufacture and repair actuators for a wide-ranging customer base which includes the food processing sector in Germany. The German success has helped the firm purchase a UK aerospace business to keep manufacturing in the UK. They have also set up a repair facility in Germany.

Newson Gale’s new order will help to boost the firm’s international presence and contribute to the need for more staff in Nottingham. German orders have rapidly risen from around £300K in 2011 to expected on-target sales of over £500K for 2013, with longer term growth predicted. The firm currently employ 40 people to manufacture static earthing equipment to diffuse the potential risks of fires and explosions in hazardous areas in the chemical and petrochemical industries.

Dan Rutstein was in the East Midlands to find out how he can help firms increase their sales to Germany, our largest EU market.

He said: “Germany is a huge market for the region and for the UK more generally. Of course there are opportunities in high growth markets but currently exports to Germany are double those to the four BRIC countries put together — we shouldn’t ignore what is on our doorstep.

“Germans tend to see British businesses as innovative and reliable and the Brits as good people to do business with. They like the up-front way we do business and love our creative and original products in areas such as design, film and music. But even in manufacturing and engineering, an area where the Germans excel, there are still opportunities for the right UK companies with the right products.”

Following his company visits Dan attended a meeting with Invest in Nottingham and other key partners and businesses from across the area to discuss ways of boosting sales to the Germany.

The latest statistics show East Midlands exports to Germany continue to climb. For the first six months of 2013 they reached £1.13bn, an increase of almost 5 per cent on the same period for 2012.

Dan added: “My teams all across Germany offer a range of services — we flex our offering to have the highest impact. Whether it’s support at a trade show, market information, lists of suppliers or more advanced services like visit programmes or even product launches in the Embassy, we’re here to help.

“Some companies see themselves as too small to make the most of what UKTI and the Foreign Office can offer overseas but it’s not true. Yes we did launch the F-Type Jaguar in the Embassy last autumn, and work with global companies like BT and Rolls-Royce, but also many SMEs have used our facilities in this way.

“We want companies of all sizes to succeed in Germany and across the world — so get in touch and let us help you.”

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