Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced that Asphalt Burner Services in Castledawson has won its first business in China for innovative quarrying and road construction machinery.
The company, which has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland in developing and marketing its state-of-the-art equipment, has secured four contracts totalling £300,000. It will supply Vulcan burners to three leading construction contractors near Shanghai for infrastructure projects.
Speaking during a visit to Asphalt Burner Services’ production plant in Castledawson, Arlene Foster said: “During the recent Invest NI trade mission to Shanghai it was clear to see that there are very substantial business opportunities for local companies in the Chinese marketplace, particularly in sectors involved in developing the nation’s infrastructure.
“Opportunities exist as part of supply chains of major contractors involved in construction and transport projects as well as through the development of tourist facilities in centres such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The Minister continued: “The recent achievements of Asphalt Burner Services should encourage other local companies in construction sectors to grasp the opportunities in what is the second largest economy in the world.
“Greater export success in China by our companies can help drive our economic recovery. This is why the Executive, which has placed export-led growth at the forefront of our economic ambitions, is building relationships with China at many levels.
“The business secured in Shanghai positions this ambitious and innovation-focused company for further growth in China and other global markets which are continuing to invest in infrastructure over both short and long terms.”
Technical advice from Invest NI enabled to company to develop the technology within a short timeframe to maximise commercial opportunities.
Invest NI has also offered Asphalt Burner Services over £37,000 of research and development support, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, to help the company’s customers increase the amount of recycled Asphalt they can use.
During the visit, the Minister was briefed by Jodie Lewis, Sales and Business Development Manager. Ms Lewis said: “The contracts are an important first stage for us in this market. It resulted from an initial approach from a Chinese contact who introduced us to the contractor in Shanghai.
“We followed this up by taking part in the Bauma exhibition in Shanghai where the interest shown in our technology was extremely encouraging. We would expect to do significant business there over the next few years. Chinese contractors were impressed by the unique features of our Vulcan burners which offer fuel savings of over 25 per cent and a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.
“What sets our burners apart from competitors is that they are much more cost efficient and effective. To ensure success we’ve invested substantially, with assistance from Invest NI, in developing highly innovative machinery that’s based on our experience gained in the asphalt business over almost 40 years. Other innovative features include a standalone management system and variable speed controls which ensure the burner runs at its optimum performance.
“We decided to look to developing markets such as China and India because opportunities in our established markets in the UK and other parts of Europe have been limited because the recession has meant cutbacks in infrastructure investment,” she added.