Construction leaders from Northern Ireland visit Saudi Arabia

Twenty two companies from Northern Ireland, mostly from the construction industry, are visiting Saudi Arabia from 5-12 March. The mission, organised by Invest Northern Ireland, is the biggest from the UK to Saudi Arabia this year.

The delegation is being assisted by commercial staff at the British Embassy in Riyadh and Jeddah. It is the second visit to Saudi Arabia by a Northern Ireland trade delegation in the past six months and the first of three scheduled visits to the kingdom in 2009.

The visit has been arranged as a follow up to last year’s mission which involved business meetings with major companies in Saudi Arabia including the Saudi Bin Laden Group, one of the Arab world’s biggest construction groups.

The delegation will again be meeting senior procurement executives from Saudi Bin Laden in Jeddah. A meeting has also been lined up with senior executives of the Emaar organisation, which has the contract to build new industrial cities in Saudi.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on the mission, said: “Saudi Arabia is an excellent marketplace in which to do business. Customers there appreciate quality and innovation and are prepared to pay a premium for excellence in both products and services. It’s also a market with particularly close relationships with the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Participating companies will have a golden opportunity to pitch for business from two of the kingdom’s biggest construction companies in a market which is continuing to invest heavily in infrastructure projects.

“As part of our support for the Northern Ireland construction industry, Invest NI has worked tirelessly to line up meetings with many of the most influential procurement people from these important organisations. All the key buyers from Bin Laden Group, for example, will be available for meetings with our companies,” he added.

Most of the companies in the delegation have visited Saudi Arabia before with Invest NI and several have significant business in the kingdom including FG Wilson, Europe’s biggest volume manufacturer of diesel and gas powered electricity generators; Cunningham Covers, Maghera, a manufacturer of tension curtains and tarpaulins; and Boomer Industries, Lisburn, a specialist in plastic extrusions for the construction industry.

Among newcomers to the Saudi market are Core Systems, Belfast, a developer of software for the custodial sector; Crossland Tankers, Swatragh, a manufacturer of road tankers; and Prologic E-Procurement, Dungannon, a developer of software for procurement operations.

Construction, Northern Ireland’s biggest industry, is represented by companies offering a range of services including equipment for sandwashing, screening and recycling.

Northern Ireland is the global leader in the design and manufacture of mobile screening, crushing and recycling machinery, an industry represented in the delegation by CDE Ireland, Cookstown, McCloskey International, Coalisland, McQuaid Engineering, Cookstown, and NIROX, Ballymoney, a supplier of trommels for recycling waste and other materials.

Two companies specialise in concrete technology – Rapid International, Tandragee, a manufacturer of concrete batching and recycling machinery, and SRS, Ballygawley, a manufacturer of concrete blockmaking equipment.

Mallaghan Engineering in Dungannon is a leading manufacturer of handling equipment and mobile stairways for airports.

Among other members of the delegation are:

Disability Needs, Belfast - a supplier of disability equipment

EDM Spanwall Facades, Carryduff – design and manufacture of architectural wall cladding systems

Environmental Products and Services, Newry - waste management

Greenfields Ireland, Belfast - dairy marketing

Newpark Security, Magherafelt - parking control solutions

Powershield Doors, Lisburn - steel security doors

PWS Ireland, Newry, - road signs

Quigg Golden, Belfast - consultancy specialising in resolution of construction disputes

TES, Cookstown - manufacturer of water and waste treatment systems

Ulster Carpets, Craigavon - manufacturer of Axminster carpets.