From Yorkshire to the world – exporters making tracks
10th March 2015
YORKSHIRE companies are still broadening their horizons and exporting goods and services across the globe, whilst recovery of the UK economy continues, a leading law firm has said.
Commercial experts at Ward Hadaway in Leeds say that companies across the region focus equally on international and on domestic markets as they look to continue expanding their businesses.
The comments came as the build-up continues to the Yorkshire Fastest 50 Awards, the annual event recognising and highlighting the fastest growing privately owned companies in Yorkshire which Ward Hadaway sponsors and organises in association with The Yorkshire Post.
Philip Jordan, Partner in the Commercial Team at Ward Hadaway in Leeds, said Yorkshire companies continue to spread their nets far and wide when it comes to bringing in business and acquiring new customers.
He said: “Whilst the pace of recovery in the UK economy may have quickened over the last 12 months, I haven’t seen companies in Yorkshire take their eye off the ball when it comes to international markets.
“I think they will go wherever the business is, whether that is Barnsley or Bali, and I have certainly not come across any companies who have changed their strategy or are now discounting overseas markets – as long as the money is there, they will go there.
“The current strength of the pound, particularly against the Euro, may affect turnover and profits in the short term but I don’t think it makes that much of a difference in the long term to companies who are committed to exports and are used to currency fluctuations.
“Many businesses which do a lot of exporting – whether that is in goods, services or a combination of the two – will already have things like currency hedging arrangements or forward purchasing agreements in place to mitigate the effect of currency changes.
“This is not to say that Yorkshire doesn’t need to do more when it comes to increasing exports – on some measures we are still behind other regions in the UK in terms of trading internationally – but on the whole I think the situation is promising and the right attitude is there to bring the best of Yorkshire to the rest of the world.”
Andrea Vero, Associate in Ward Hadaway’s Commercial team, frequently advises clients on export matters, particularly on agreements with trading partners in EU countries as she is dual qualified in English and German law.
Andrea agrees that while “there is always room for improvement” when it comes to Yorkshire’s export performance, a “large number” of companies in the region are trading internationally with the EU still being the main market.
She said: “Other overseas markets are coming on stream, such as the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries and the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), but it takes a bit longer for those to take off so the EU is still the key market for most exporters in this region.
“Of course, there are uncertainties in the EU. There is the situation in Greece and to some extent in Spain and Portugal as well as the potential for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, but it is such an extensive and varied market that no company in Yorkshire which wants to grow can afford to ignore the EU.”
As well as changes in the countries which Yorkshire companies are looking to do business with, the profile of exporting businesses is shifting.
Andrea Vero explained: “Usually when we advise companies on export matters, they are already fairly well established in the UK market and are looking to export to add to their revenue stream.
“While it is rare that you will see a start-up or early stage company looking to export before it has established customers in the UK, the internet and e-commerce has meant that it is so much easier to increase your customer base further afield.
“As a result, I think a lot of companies are starting to think about exporting a lot quicker than they were say 10 or 15 years ago because technology has made the world a lot smaller.”
The winners of the Yorkshire Fastest 50 Awards for 2015 will be revealed in a ceremony at Aspire Leeds on Friday 20 March featuring special guest speaker Steph McGovern, business reporter for BBC Breakfast.
* Find out more about the Fastest 50 Awards.