England

Midlands exporters seek new markets due to the euro crisis

The eurozone crisis has meant that businesses are now looking to develop new markets, according to two West Midlands firms who have relied on exporting to Europe.

Paul Collier, managing director of Lanemark International, based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, said it was difficult for firms to know what will happen in the eurozone.

"We like things to be as predictable as possible to make forecasting that much easier and to be honest since 2006/7 that hasn't been the case," he said.

His company make burners used in the metal finishing, paint spraying, breweries, agriculture and the oil and gas industries.

Exports to Europe make up about 30% of their business, with Germany being their biggest market.

Mr Collier said the falling value of the euro has had a direct impact on his firm.

"When we sell goods into Europe we use euros, but our cost base is in pounds, so from that point of view our euro sale is worth less in terms of pounds when we are looking at covering our cost.

"If there is a slow down as well that can have a double impact in terms of the volume of orders going out to customers," he said.

New markets

Greece was never a big market for his firm's products but he said plans to expand in Spain had been put to "the back of the priority list".

He said one positive impact of the uncertainties over the future of the eurozone is that his firm is looking at new markets in the Far East and China.

He believes Midlands manufacturers learned from the collapse of the car industry the importance of diversity and of not having "all your eggs in one basket".

"We did see a big impact on local manufacturing when the car plants closed, and a lot of companies had to redevelop themselves and look at different industries they could supply to," he said.

This is a view shared by Rick Cirpiriani, the European distribution manager for Southco in Worcester, who make latches and hinges used by industry.

With exports accounting for 80% of their business he said they were now "always looking for new markets".

He said in traditional markets like Spain they have seen "a considerable decrease in business", but that they are still seeing "opportunities in a lot of areas where we weren't doing business before".

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