Copyright: Michael Cooper
In picture is Vicky Kell, Invest NI's Director of Trade, with Stephen McIvor, Export Sales Manager of SDC Trailers in Toomebridge.
SDC Trailers in Toomebridge has secured its first direct sale in Saudi Arabia through an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission.
The company, which exports extensively to Europe, is supplying almost 200 refurbished trailers to a major transport operator in Saudi Arabia for the shipment of food and drink.
Earlier this year, SDC met the customer on the Invest NI mission to the Saudi business centres of Jeddah and Al Khobar. It was the Northern Ireland company’s first business mission to Saudi Arabia.
The deal was signed by Stephen McIvor, SDC’s Export Sales Manager, following the 7-day mission and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director.
Dr Kell said: “SDC is the latest in a developing list of Northern Ireland companies, across a very broad range of industries, to secure very worthwhile business in Saudi Arabia through their participation on one of Invest NI’s missions.
“Over the past year, we’ve organised three missions to the key Saudi business centres of Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar for over 50 local companies and our next mission there is scheduled for October. Participating companies have ranged from food to security services; and IT to recycling equipment.
“Our experience is that there are significant opportunities for most companies in manufacturing and tradable services that are prepared to commit fully to this huge market. Saudi Arabia is a marketplace in which customers expect to do business on a face-to-face basis. Doing business there usually takes time and is heavily dependent on relationships.”
“Securing business on a first time mission is a remarkable achievement and clearly shows that the Saudi customer was highly impressed both by the quality of the products and the professionalism of the Northern Ireland company’s approach.”
Mr McIvor said: “While we’ve sold trailers to Saudi through an agent in the past, it was decided that we could probably do greater business through a more direct approach to this important and very dynamic marketplace.
“The Invest NI mission came at the right time and gave us an opportunity to explore business there. Winning such a sizeable contract on the first visit was a real bonus.
“We detailed our products to top management of the transport company on the trip and invited them to England. Before any agreement was made, we took them to our offices in Loscoe and Mansfield and let them see our products first-hand. From this, we subsequently finalised the contract.
“Saudi looks likely to become a very important market for us in the long-term. We’ve identified other potential business throughout the kingdom and will be going back again as soon as practicable. While we already have substantial exports to European markets including Russia, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Germany and France, we are always keen to develop new markets worldwide.”