Major business delegation from Northern Ireland in Saudi Arabia

Directors and senior managers of eight leading businesses will be in Saudi Arabia, from 17-25 January, to explore trade, technology transfer and investment opportunities on an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission.

The delegation will visit Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar and will be lead by Bill McGinnis, Invest NI Board member and Chairman of the McAvoy Group. Mr McGinnis is also a member of the Board of UK Trade and Investment and has been engaged in business activities in Saudi Arabia for over 20 years in sectors such as engineering, construction and storage.

McAvoy Group, a Dungannon-based specialist in modular buildings, recently secured a contract with Alpha Environmental of Coleraine to provide two mobile laboratories to Oman in the Gulf. The labs are being used by Royal Dutch Shell for testing purposes.

In addition to assistance from commercial staff in the UK Diplomatic Posts at Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar, the delegation is being advised and supported by staff from Invest NI’s Technology and Development Centre in Dubai.

Mr McGinnis, commenting on the visit, said: “Saudi Arabia is an exceptional market in which to do business, because customers there appreciate quality and innovation in the products and services they choose to purchase. It is also a market with particularly close and longstanding links with the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“I am confident that customers in Saudi Arabia will be impressed by the quality of products and services provided by the companies in this delegation. Several already have significant business in the country, all are eager to develop mutually beneficial relationships with companies here and back these up with exceptional and long-term customer services and support.

“This is a very broadly based delegation that is representative of many of Northern Ireland’s most successful and enterprising sectors including software, construction, safety systems, and textiles. All the participants are experienced exporters to regions as diverse as the US, Europe and China. They have a strong commitment to, and vast experience in, export activities.

“Over the years I’ve found the Saudi Arabian marketplace to be both challenging and invigorating. It’s one of the most dynamic global markets and is also an ideal base from which to explore and develop business in other parts of the Middle East,” he added.

Most of the companies in the delegation have previously visited Saudi Arabia. As a result only two of the eight companies are not yet represented there – AJ Power, a European leader in portable power generation, and Tomcat Systems, a specialist software developer for healthcare services.

The visit to Saudi Arabia is the first in a programme of activities planned by Invest NI in the Gulf region during 2008. Other activities include a mission to the United Arab Emirates and first-time participation in the Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai.

Northern Ireland companies taking part in the business delegation to Saudi Arabia from 17-25 January 2008:

AJ Power, Craigavon – diesel generators for prime, standby and emergency power

Cunningham Covers, Maghera – canvas covers and tarpaulins for vehicles and other applications

Environmental Products and Services, Newry – environmental management and conservation systems

Liddell Linens, Craigavon – linens and textiles for hotels, airlines and upmarket stores

PWS International, Newry – road signs including solar technology systems

RFD Beaufort, Dunmurry – air and marine survival systems

McAvoy Group, Dungannon – modular and sectional buildings

Tomcat Systems, Belfast – software for healthcare and other industries.