Invest NI helps comber metal fabricator boost turnover

County Down firm Befab Ltd has boosted exports and increased turnover by 90 per cent in the last year thanks to support from Invest Northern Ireland.

A manufacturer of metal roofing products for the agricultural and construction markets, Befab has invested over £100,000 to upgrade its IT systems and recruit a sales manager for the Republic of Ireland. Invest NI, with support from the European Regional Development Fund, offered over £30,000 towards the investment projects.

The company, based in Comber, has now incorporated sophisticated stock control software and offers an online sales and order tracking service. As a result, sales to the Republic of Ireland are on course to account for around 40 per cent of the company’s overall revenue.

Kevin McCann, Invest NI’s Director of Transport, Construction and Tourism, said: “The current economic climate is presenting strong export opportunities for local companies, thanks in some part to the strength of the Euro against Sterling. Befab has invested heavily in its export sales and marketing capability whilst also improving its processes and implementing efficiency savings. These improvements, coupled with its quality product offering, have made it an even more attractive supplier to clients in the lucrative RoI market.”

Managing Director of Befab Mervyn Elliott is pleased with the company’s recent development: “For some time we have seen the Republic of Ireland as a major potential growth market, with our range of versatile metal roofing products proving particularly popular in the agricultural market. To capitalise on this, we are establishing a permanent sales presence in that area so that we can tap into the increasing interest in our products.

“Alongside this we have put in place advanced stock control software which has generated significant efficiency savings by reducing duplication of effort. This will prove to be of even more benefit as we start to source greater quantities of raw materials and continue to streamline our supply chain.”

“We are also the only supplier in Ireland to provide an online ordering and tracking service. Feedback from clients on these improvements has been extremely positive and we are now well positioned to further build both our reputation and our export sales following the success of the last year,” added Mr Elliott.

Mr McCann concluded: “Invest NI offers practical advice and support which can help companies start trading outside Northern Ireland and enable them to weather the current economic difficulties.”