Lord Green launches Export Week in Liverpool & Speke

May 13th, 2013


Minister for Trade & Investment visits successful exporters in Speke




Minister for Trade & Investment Lord Green visited Merseyside to launch UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI’s) Export Week, part of a concerted campaign to increase UK exports.

The week will comprise over 50 events nationwide, organised by UKTI to encourage companies to export more – particularly in high growth markets.

Lord Green delivered the keynote speech at a launch event at the Hilton Hotel, Liverpool, before travelling to Speke to visit ChargePoint Technology, an advanced manufacturing company that exports up to 90% of its products.

The company is already one of UKTI North West’s Export Champions – a selection of successful exporting firms that are working with UKTI to help encourage and advise other businesses.

ChargePoint designs and manufactures high containment valves for use in the pharmaceutical industry. This niche product is used to safely transfer the highly potent active ingredients which make up less than 1% of finished drugs from one piece of equipment to another.

The valves not only protect workers from the active ingredients, but safeguard the products themselves from being damaged by the environment.

ChargePoint has been trading since 2008, when it was spun out from pharmaceutical firm PSL UK (Liverpool) where it used to be a business unit.

Managing Director Chris Eccles and the management team spotted the commercial potential for the valves and bought the company under an MBO.

Despite the economic climate following the banking crash, the MBO team borrowed £1 million under the EFG scheme to support the acquisition of ChargePoint – a debt which has now been repaid in full.

As sales started to grow ChargePoint required additional manufacturing capacity over and above its existing supply base, and in 2010 introduced an in-house manufacturing facility. The business now employs 45 people, and undertakes all its own research and development, manufacture and assembly at its Speke Plant.

ChargePoint has worked with UKTI since its inception and now exports to a range of markets – including many of the fast developing, high growth markets such as India, Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore. The company is also looking towards trading with Russia, which it believes will become a major market in the future.

Managing Director of ChargePoint Technology Chris Eccles said:

“We always saw the potential of the product, which is unique and very niche, and we are looking forward to expanding further. As well as the traditional markets of Western Europe and America, we are always looking out for opportunities in developing markets and believe that, although the pharmaceutical industry in some of these markets is not yet at the stage where they need our products, they will develop in the next few years and prove to be very important trading partners.

“We have worked with UKTI for many years and have been on the Passport to Export Programme, used GAP funding for overseas visits and commissioned OMIS reports into new markets. It is vital for a business to keep growing and we would encourage other businesses to look at how UKTI can help them expand internationally.”

Speaking about Export Week, Lord Green, Minister for Trade & Investment, said:

“High growth markets are changing the face of international business – these are the world’s growing economies, which offer tomorrow’s opportunities. With so many millions of potential new customers, low-cost communications, and improving infrastructure, the time to act is now.

“It is very encouraging to meet businesses such as ChargePoint, who take exporting seriously and have a clear strategy to grow their business internationally, and during Export Week we want to invite more companies to do the same.

“Export Week will see more than 50 events across the UK designed to inspire and encourage businesses to take up the National Export Challenge by taking advantage of the endless commercial opportunities in fast growing markets.

“The government will support you as effectively as it can but the first step must come from business, so I would encourage you to take that step today.”

Clive Drinkwater, Regional Director at UKTI North West, added:

“In ten years’ time the world’s population will have grown by a further 1 billion people, almost all of that in emerging, high growth economies. With our current biggest markets experiencing the slowest growth rates, we desperately need to embrace the opportunities that exist in developing markets or risk being left behind.

“The ability to trade anywhere in the world will be a defining characteristic of the most successful business of the future, enabling them to reach many millions of potential new customers and we want to help companies achieve this objective.”

The following events are taking place in the North West during Export Week:

More information on Export is available at www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk.

Businesses can also get free help and advice on how to export successfully by calling UKTI’s North West International Trade Team on 0845 603 7053.

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