Construction and environment experts explore Saudi business opportunities

May 06, 2009

28 companies and university representatives, including several specialising in construction and environmental technologies, are visiting Saudi Arabia on an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission, from 7-14th May on business.

The delegation, one of the biggest-ever from the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, is the second Invest NI mission to this important marketplace since January.  A further mission to Saudi Arabia is planned by the organisation later this year.

The current visit will centre on Riyadh and Jeddah and is being assisted by staff at Invest NI’s Technology and Development Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Eighteen of those taking part in the delegation are also visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time on an Invest NI mission.

Almost half of the participants in the delegation represent construction and environmental technologies, two of Northern Ireland’s most important industries.

Key areas of expertise represented in this group include materials handling machinery used in activities such as quarrying, screening, sand washing, recycling and fast track construction. Northern Ireland is a recognised international centre of excellence in the design and manufacture of mobile machinery for quarrying, screening and recycling.

The mission also includes a group of companies from the healthcare/biotechnology sector. Most of these companies have extensive business in international markets and are keen to develop opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Delegation members each have pre-arranged programmes of meetings with Saudi leaders in business, education, healthcare and public bodies. As a result of previous Invest NI missions, several Northern Ireland companies have developed strong business links with major construction groups such Saudi Bin Laden and Emaar.

The Gulf is now one of Northern Ireland’s most important markets, with customers there purchasing a broad range of products and expert services.

Invest NI Trade Director Dr Vicky Kell, commenting on the latest Saudi mission, said: “This is an exceptionally strong delegation which represents many of Northern Ireland’s most successful and globally focused industries such as construction, materials handling and healthcare.

“Our focus on Saudi is proving to be an outstanding success because of the scale of the opportunities there in areas such as construction and overall infrastructure enhancement.

“Many of the companies in the delegation have experience of working in global markets and are geared to provide quality products and services that customers in Saudi Arabia expect. Northern Ireland’s two world class universities, Queen’s Belfast and Ulster University, are keen to develop technology transfer links with similar institutions in the Kingdom. Both are highly regarded internationally for their expertise in research areas such as civil engineering and life sciences.”

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