European windows of opportunity open for Cookstown group

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has congratulated the Cookstown-based Keystone Group, on recently securing its first Keylite Roof Windows sales in Romania and the Netherlands.

The success comes after the company, which manufactures steel lintels and roof windows for the construction Industry, brought forward research and development into new products and further developed the skills of its team. This was supported by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund and enabled Keystone to target new geographical markets in continental Europe.

Throughout the projects, Keystone has worked closely with its workforce, whose support and co-operation were crucial factors in implementing extensive efficiencies throughout the business.

Commending the company during a recent visit, the Minister said: “The global economic downturn has had a well-publicised impact on the construction sector in Northern Ireland, causing difficulties for many businesses.

“Keystone has acted decisively in response to these conditions, gaining staff buy-in and implementing innovative and forward-thinking projects that can not only help sustain its operations in the short term but also assist in securing its long term viability.

“This hard work by everyone at the company has been rewarded with the success in penetrating new markets in mainland Europe. By continuing to improve its extensive product range and focussing on attracting new international clients, Keystone is an excellent example of how local businesses can adapt as they navigate the downturn.”

Eithne Kelly, General Manager of the Keystone Group, said: “The severity and speed of the downturn in construction work had a dramatic impact on demand for our products. Realising that we could no longer continue to target the same regular clients, we focussed our marketing efforts on new areas whilst also building our capability for the future.

“With extensive support from Invest NI, we accelerated our research and development activities and identified methods to reduce our overheads. Together with a programme of staff training and development, these steps have enabled us to seize upon new sources of revenue in emerging markets. This is a tribute to the loyalty and commitment of our team and places us at the forefront when the industry recovers and opportunities become more common.”