Senior executives from 16 companies will be visiting Bahrain for the first time with Invest Northern Ireland to explore opportunities for trade, joint ventures and technology transfer, from 20-23 October.
A further six companies will be joining the delegation when it arrives in Saudi Arabia, the neighbouring and much larger market, from 23 to 28 October. Two senior staff from UU health, part of the University of Ulster, are also travelling with the delegation to Saudi Arabia. UU Health already trains nurses for Saudi hospitals.
Bahrain is the third new market visited by an Invest NI mission is as many months. The others were Russia and Taiwan. The delegation is being assisted with market research and business lead generation by commercial staff at the British diplomatic posts in Bahrain as well as the Saudi centres of Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar.
The two-centre mission is the latest in a programme of trade delegations to the Gulf region that Invest NI has organised this year. A further mission to the United Arab Emirates is scheduled for November.
Taking part in the delegation are several companies engaged in the local construction industry. As well as providing construction services and equipment, the group includes architects and landscape designers with experience in both private and public sector contracts.
Many of the companies are visiting Bahrain for the first time on an Invest NI-organised business mission. Most, however, have experience in export markets. Several companies in the delegation already have extensive business in the Gulf region.
Companies with business in the region include FG Wilson, Larne, the world’s second biggest volume manufacturer of diesel power generation sets, Boomer Industries, Lisburn, a specialist manufacturer of plastic extrusions for the construction industry, Mallaghan Engineering, Dungannon, a manufacturer of airport handling equipment, PWS International, a Newry company which already supplies solar powered road directional signs to clients in Bahrain, and SRS Finlay, a Ballygawley manufacturer of mobile concrete block making machinery.
As well as visiting Saudi Arabia, some of the delegation members are also travelling to nearby countries including the United Arab Emirates and Oman for business discussions.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on the mission, said: “This visit is part of an extensive programme of business missions to the Gulf region over the past year. While missions have centred on Saudi Arabia and Dubai, we have also encouraged and assisted companies to look closely at other neighbouring markets throughout the region including Qatar, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Iraq.
“We’ve included Bahrain because our market research shows significant opportunities are developing for our companies particularly in areas such as construction and infrastructure improvement, two industries in which Northern Ireland has significant expertise. In addition, a number of companies suggested that Bahrain should be included in the programme. Bahrain has been an important hub for UK business over many years with events such as the International Air Show attracting many aerospace companies.
“Our companies have a sharp export focus and are keen to explore and develop new market opportunities. They are also well-experienced in competing in Gulf markets,” she added.
Northern Ireland companies visiting Bahrain
Anaconda Equipment International, Cookstown - mobile conveying equipment;
Boomer Industries, Lisburn - plastic extrusions;
Cooneen Watts and Stone, Fivemiletown - military clothing;
FG Wilson, Larne, Monkstown and Belfast - portable power generators;
Foyle Language School, Londonderry - language tuition;
HKR Architects, Belfast - architectural practice;
Liddell Linens, Craigavon - household and airline textiles;
Mallaghan Engineering, Dungannon - airport machinery;
McGirr Engineering, Omagh - mobile blockmaking equipment;
North West Academy of English, Londonderry - language tuition;
Powershield Doors, Lisburn - steel doors;
PWS International, Newry - directional signs for roads;
Speechstorm, Belfast - communications consultancy;
SRS Finlay, Ballygawley - mobile concrete blockmaking machinery;
TES, Cookstown - water treatment systems;
Trio Formwork, Dungannon - construction techniques.
Joining the Invest NI mission in Saudi Arabia are:
Building Services Design, Belfast – profession building services
Greenfields Ireland, Belfast – dairy products
Quigg Golden, Belfast – legal services to the construction industry
Todd Architects, Belfast - architects
UU Health, Newtowabbey – nurse training services
White Ink, Belfast - architects