Kilrea Company Marks Out Road to Success in China

A Kilrea company is helping to improve safety on the network of new roads currently being constructed around Shanghai, China's buoyant commercial capital.

Kestrel Thermoplastics has secured an important contract to provide plastic materials used for road markings as a result of taking part in an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to Hong Kong and China. The contract is the Co Londonderry company's first in China. Kestrel manufactures high performance reflective marking materials to European and worldwide standards.

"We've already shipped two container loads to a contractor in China which could become a very important market for us. The huge investment in infrastructure there is creating massive export opportunities," says Stephen Nugent, marketing executive of Kestrel Thermoplastics.

"We discovered that there was an Invest NI mission scheduled and decided that this was a particularly cost-effective way to test the market. We found considerable interest in our products and identified contacts that led directly to the order. So, it proved to be a very worthwhile mission for the company," he adds.

Welcoming Kestrel's success, Alan Hingston, Invest NI's Trade director, says:

“Kestrel’s success demonstrates how a small and enterprising company can compete and win in a market as vast and dynamic as China by using our programme of export development services.

“Our yearly missions to Hong Kong and China provide an ideal platform for local companies to explore the opportunities developing rapidly in this, the world’s biggest and most competitive marketplace,” he adds.

Kestrel Thermoplastics employs 12 people at its modern production plant and laboratory in Kilrea. The company has an established reputation as a leading supplier of road marking materials. It currently exports around 30 per cent of its products to customers in Europe and Australasia.

The company, which supplies road marking materials for roads in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, has invested over £1 million in developing its manufacturing operations and in extending its product range.

It also manufactures pre-formed thermoplastic used for road symbols, personalised logos, playground and educational markings, and Thermogrip, an anti-skid surface treatment material.