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Staffordshire ceramics firm set to unlock potential of South Korea

A Staffordshire ceramics company plans to explore new business opportunities in South Korea, thanks to UK Trade & Investment.

Johnson Tiles, of Stoke-on-Trent, has won an Overseas Market Introduction Service from UKTI after taking part in research to find out companies' future export plans and potential.

An OMIS is a detailed in-country report giving UK companies access to market and sector specific advice as well as offering introductions and support during in-country visits. 

Established in 1901, Johnson Tiles is one of the UK's leading manufacturers of ceramic wall and floor tiles. Exports form a key part of its business strategy, accounting for 15% of sales.

The company's main export markets include the US, Russia, the Middle East and the Far East.

 "Johnson Tiles has worked closely with UKTI for several years and has recently used its OMIS service to conduct research into Japan, the US and Canada, reveals Export sales director Karen Brindley.

"We look forward to commissioning the report we have won on South Korea as part of our initiative to promote high-end British products into this market and to widen our network of international contacts." 

The UKTI research, in which Johnson Tiles participated, found that more than 75% of British small and medium-sized businesses are planning to export more goods and services in the coming year to more markets.

'From Surviving to Thriving: Doing Business Overseas' is based on a survey of more than 200 British companies, predominantly SMEs. Conducted by the Institute of Directors, the the report offers fresh insights from companies about their future export plans and potential.

Launching the new research earlier this week, Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:

"Exports account for 60% of UK productivity growth and provide genuine benefits for British SMEs. Research shows that firms which export increase their productivity by nearly 35% in the first year alone, they achieve stronger financial performance and are 11% more likely to stay in business.

"Put simply, exporting can be the difference between surviving and thriving for SMEs.

"While today's new report is encouraging, just one in 25 British companies is exporting. I want to encourage more SMEs to get exporting, and so grow." 

Key findings include:

· UK SME exporters are upbeat about the future. Three-quarters of respondents (75%) plan to export more over the next 12 months.

· Nearly 80% of companies expect the number of countries they deal with to increase.

· Conducting business overseas is a catalyst for innovation, with companies developing new and modified products to meet the needs of international customers. More than three fifths of respondents (62%) claimed that they develop new products and services when doing business overseas and an even higher proportion (72%) make changes or modifications to existing products or services.

· 55% of respondents said the European Economic Area was the first port of call for exporting.

· 27% of companies are interested in exporting to the Middle East and Asia, while 24% favoured Russia and Eastern Europe as an export destination.

· 63% of respondents said exporting improved their company's profile and credibility.

"The IoD urges more businesses to seize the opportunity of growing export markets," says Director General of the IoD Miles Templeman.

"This message is as relevant to small and medium-sized companies as it is for large ones. With the right strategy, business of all sizes can benefit hugely from international expansion."

In the last 12 months, UKTI has helped around 4,000 businesses in the West Midlands to export. Around 90% of UKTI's customers are small and medium-sized businesses. 

For more information on UKTI:

T: +44 (0)20 7215 8000

W: www.ukti.gov.uk

T: 01782 575 575

F: 01782 577 377

E: [email protected]

W: www.johnson-tiles.com



15th October 2010

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