Search Starts for Exporter of the Year as Powerscreen Announces Major Contract.

Powerscreen International, the Dungannon-based manufacturer of screening and recycling machinery, which was voted Northern Ireland's Exporter of the Year last year, has won a £500,000 contract in India following an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission.

The new contract was announced by Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade director, at the start of the search for Northern Ireland’s top exporters. He announced details of the Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year Awards 2003-4, which is open to all local companies. The awards are organised by Invest NI with sponsorship from HSBC and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Said Mr Hingston: “This is Northern Ireland’s most prestigious award for export excellence. I am delighted that Powerscreen, last year’s winner, has continued to increase its export sales and is benefiting, in particular, from Invest NI’s developing focus on India, one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

“The awards are a unique showcase of business excellence in markets outside Northern Ireland. They provide an opportunity for all companies, large and small, locally owned and externally owned, in manufacturing and internationally traded services to gain recognition for their enterprise and innovation in the international marketplace.”

Powerscreen is supplying its market leading Chieftain screening machinery for use in India's iron ore mining centres of South Goa, Orissa and Karnataka. The business is expected to reach over £1 million in the next few months as Powercreen builds on contacts in India.

Steve Harper, Powerscreen's regional sales manager for South Asia, described the contracts as "immensely important business which increases our presence in a target marketplace."

"We've identified opportunities across a range of industries in India, including mining, but developing business there takes time and frequent visits. Participation in trade missions is an important element in our export marketing strategy, because the support provided enables us to increase visits to key markets. Missions are particularly useful in managing the dealers who play a major role in our export sales.

"While the quality of our machinery and the Powerscreen brand are now recognised in many parts of India, maintaining a presence in what is an exceptionally competitive international market is essential. The support we received from Invest NI and the British High Commission network in India was also very beneficial," he added.

Powerscreen International, now part of the US Terex group, exports its range of screening and recycling machinery to customers in 40 countries, including the US, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia. The company, which employs around 450 people, expanded its export business by more than 18 per cent in 2002.

Established in 1966, Powerscreen now manufactures over 50 types of machine for sale by an international network of over 80 dealers

The Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year Awards cover six categories and are open to all companies engaged in export markets. The awards, will be presented at a gala dinner on 17 June in Belfast City Hall cover the following categories:

Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year
Small Business Exporter of the Year
New Market Entry Exporter of the Year
Innovative Products/Services Exporter of the Year
Traded Services Exporter of the Year
First Time Exporter of the Year.

Applications for the awards are available from Dora Beacom on (0)28 9049 0579, or from the website and should be returned by 23 April.