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Meet the Welsh Engineering Firm Targeting Overseas Business

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A Welsh engineering company has seen its turnover boosted by more than a quarter after targeting business overseas as part of a wider business growth strategy.

Swansea-based Axium Process, a world-leading manufacturer of specialist filtration systems and stainless-steel process equipment, has seen its annual turnover grow by 25% thanks to its firm focus on international trade.

The ambitious company, which sells its products internationally, is now eyeing further growth by expanding its export client base and moving into new territories.

Founded in 2002 by Dave and Margaret Houldsworth, Axium Process initially focused on trade within the UK after identifying a gap in the market for niche hygienic stainless-steel fabrication. Its diverse customer base now comprises of a wide range of industrial sectors including nuclear, aerospace, pharmaceutical, food and beverage. Today, the company provides bespoke hygienic equipment and systems for most process industries and serves a growing market in industrial waste water recycling systems.

Following initial success within the UK, Axium Process explored overseas opportunities by attending trade shows and trade missions in the Middle East, which led to the company signing its first Dubai-based distributor in 2005.

Almost fifteen years since its first overseas partnership, the company now exports its products all over the world, with key markets across Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East.

Dubai has been one of its main distributor locations in the Middle East, mainly covering the UAE. Opportunities are also developing for the firm in Qatar after Axium recently signed up two new distributing agents based in Doha, following help and support from Welsh Government.

Building on growth prospects in South East Asia and having recently completed a significant filtration project with a multi-national beverage company based in Singapore, Axium now has agents in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

Selecting agents in each target region has been a key element in Axium Process’ growth. Using local contacts who know the company’s products and understand the territorial marketplace has enabled the firm to successfully promote its hygienic engineering and industrial filtration expertise internationally.

Overseas business currently accounts for around 25% of Axium’s trade, and with new agents continuing to be appointed, the firm is expecting to see export sales grow to account a third of its turnover within the next five years.

Derek Davies, Business Development Director at Axium Process, said:

“Due to the nature of our engineering-led business, our main strategy is to use carefully selected agents to maintain our presence overseas. In this way, we are always on-hand to spot the big opportunities when they come along.

“Accomplishing this rewarding element of our business has allowed us to develop our international client base successfully and exciting opportunities have opened up with recent developments at Cardiff Airport making access to new international markets a practical proposition.”

Vital to the company’s export success, Axium Process has received support from Welsh Government export specialists, accessed through Business Wales, who have helped the firm identify its target market entry points and provided market research.

Derek added:

“We have been very fortunate with the advice, guidance and encouragement we have received from Welsh Government during our export journey. In particular, help and support on international trade missions has played a key role in our growth strategy, enabling us to showcase our products and to source prospective agents. Similarly, having background knowledge on trading and export tactics for certain areas has been very useful in building our successful international presence.

“From an engineering perspective, exporting is challenging but can lead to fantastic opportunities.”