Exports on the up for firm

Export is on the up for a Thetford air conditioning firm after wooing Russia's elite at the British embassy in Moscow. Trox UK now has on its order books air conditioning for the Gazprom Tower in St Petersburg, commissioned to be the new headquarters of the Russian utility giant.

Export is on the up for a Thetford air conditioning firm after wooing Russia's elite at the British embassy in Moscow.

Trox UK now has on its order books air conditioning for the Gazprom Tower in St Petersburg, commissioned to be the new headquarters of the Russian utility giant.

It installed its own salesman in Moscow in January and now has its sights set on new business in Turkey.

Last year it saw a turn over of �30million, 20pc up on the year before, and while UK sales have been down this year, mostly due to the slump in the construction industry, export sales are up.

Export manager Mark Dawes predicts export sales will increase to more than 15pc this year, from five to 10pc in 2006, helping to keep turnover flat.

“In the current climate that is quite a success,” he said.

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The firm manufactures and supplies energy efficient air conditioning systems from its site on the Caxton Way industrial estate in Thetford.

Growth in Russia came after the firm's parent company, Trox Group, started its own manufacturing in the US and the UK business needed to find another export market, said Mr Dawes.

With the help of the government body, UK Trade and Industry, the firm held a launch event in the British embassy, which helped them establish a presence.

“We could see that there was quite a bit of potential business out there because there is a shortage of high quality office space,” said Mr Dawes.

Although the slump hit Russia harder than most, with many projects on hold, Trox decided the potential was worth sticking with.

Next on the export hit list is Turkey, where the firm is hoping to hold a similar embassy event in Istanbul.

Where politics was pushing the Russian's to be more energy efficient, in Turkey it is new legislation to make buildings greener, said Mr Dawes.

There is also a similar demand for high quality office space - which have to meet the new energy efficient criteria.

Other markets the firm is working in are the Middle East. While business has “fallen off a cliff” in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Kuwait was still strong and they even had orders from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Dawes said the firm's export growth was also partially thanks to the weak pound against the Euro.

“With the pound falling against the Euro we were maybe cheaper than some companies in the Euro zone,” he said. “It has helped us against the dollar as well.”

The firm employs about 200 staff, 120 in production and the rest in design, sales and administration at Thetford.

During the downturn they have lost just 12 staff and see it as very important to keep on their trained staff.

The Trox Group is an international German family run firm set up in the 1950s with a total turnover of 450 to 500million.

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