Northern Ireland group at global construction event

Eight local companies are visiting one of the world’s biggest construction exhibitions this week on an Invest Northern Ireland organised trade mission.

The companies are visiting Intermat 2009 in Paris as part of Invest NI’s programme of marketing initiatives for the Northern Ireland construction industry.

Intermat is the world’s second biggest building products and materials exhibition and is held every three years in the French capital. This is the first mission that Invest NI has organised to the event.

Important developing markets with diplomatic support at the show include several North African and South Africa countries, and Brazil. Delegations and trade groups from Russia, Ukraine, Bosnia, Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Moldova are also visiting the show.

There are six national pavilions, representing China, South Korea, the USA, Great Britain, Ireland and Finland. Sectors featuring for the first time include mines and quarries, drilling and boring; equipment, components and accessories, handling, logistics and fork-lift truck manufacturers.

The Northern Ireland group includes companies from the machinery manufacture, engineering and building sectors.  Taking part in the delegation are several companies with extensive international business including CDE Ireland, the Cookstown-based designer and manufacturer of screening and sandwashing machinery; Telestack International of Omagh, a market leader in telescopic storage systems; Rapid International, Tandragee, a developer of concrete batching and recycling machinery; and McCauley Trailers, Toomebridge, a manufacturer of industrial and agricultural trailers.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on the mission, said: “The visit to Intermat in Paris is a further example of our commitment to help construction industry companies explore new business opportunities outside Northern Ireland.

“Early in 2008, we recognised that construction projects in the UK and Ireland were declining because of the economic downturn and decided to develop a programme of activities geared to the specific needs of this important sector in the Northern Ireland economy.

“We took advice from the industry and individual companies and this encouraged us to include several construction exhibitions in our programme of missions and exhibitions in Europe and further afield. Another element in the programme is the focus on construction opportunities in the still buoyant markets of the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, and the development of ‘meet the buyer’ type events there with industry leaders such as the Saudi Bin Laden and Emaar industrial groups.

As well as participation in key exhibitions such as Hillhead and Interbuild, both in England, the Irish Sustainable Building Show in Dublin, Big 5 in Dubai, and Entsorga in Germany, we have organised a series of missions to other nations investing extensively in their physical infrastructure including Russia and Bulgaria.

“We’ve also been encouraged by increased interest shown by construction sector companies in our mission programme to markets including India and China,” added Dr Kell.