Chemical manufacturing firm secures £1m Middle East contract

A Telford manufacturer of chemical products is pushing ahead with its overseas growth plans after securing a £1m contract in the Middle East.

Serchem, a manufacturer of premium chemical products for the catering, laundry and medical decontamination sectors, used the Department for International Trade (DIT) three years ago to grow its presence overseas, a move which helped secure a project with the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia.

Robert Lamb, business operations manager at Serchem, said: “The health market in the UK can be extremely challenging, despite this our SSD, endoscopy and decontamination sectors have shown a year-on-year growth of over 11% this fiscal domestically.

“Export markets represented only a small percentage of our turnover previously but engaging with the DIT and being able to tap into their knowledge and resources has been a game-changer for us.

“We previously had no clear plans for expansion into overseas markets and little knowledge of how to do it successfully.

“But with the help of a grant provided by the European Regional Development Fund, and much advice and guidance from the DIT, we attended Arab Health in 2017 and grew strong relationships with distributors across the Middle East.

“Exports have grown steadily over a few years, with our distributor network helping to get our products known and reputable in the overseas health market.”

He added: “Our overseas expansion and growth plans are now looking much more positive and over the next five years, we project that our export sales will account for 25% of our gross turnover.”

Success overseas has also helped Serchem to reinvest back into the growth and strategic development of the business, with the creation of two additional jobs and an opportunity to take on an apprentice this year.

The company has also moved to a larger warehouse and distribution centre in Telford, as well as created a purpose-built bottling and packaging facility.

Shernel Stevenson, international trade adviser at the Department for International Trade, added: “We’re thrilled to hear how exporting has provided other valuable market opportunities which will help the business continue to grow.

“There really are so many opportunities for businesses here in Shropshire to look further afield, to showcase their products to an international market, and access a wide range of help and guidance to support them throughout the whole process.”

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