Export finance can help medium-sized companies – Lord Livingston

Friday, 13th June 2014

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The trade and investment minister made his comments during a tour of four of Wiltshire’s most high-profile businesses.

Lord Livingston, a former BT chief executive who succeeded Lord Green in the post in December 2013, said one of his key priorities since taking over is encouraging medium-sized businesses, defined as companies with a turnover of between £20m and £200m, to sell more products and services overseas.

He believes that large companies such as Diageo, Land Rover and GlaxoSmithKline and smaller start-ups such as those in TechHubs across the UK are promoting themselves well abroad, but that there is a gap in between.

He said: “What we’ve not done so well is medium-sized companies with revenues of between £20m and £200m.

“Sometimes it’s about finance. Sometimes it’s just about companies servicing the home market too much. Often they’ve got the product already but we need to help them look beyond the UK and Europe.”

This help includes improving access to export finance, ensuring experienced exporters are available to advise their peers, encouraging companies to visit international trade conferences and inviting businesses to attend global trade missions, he said.

Lord Livingston toured four companies in Wiltshire this week to find out how they are using support from UK Trade & Investment to grow exports and to see what more can be done to help others.

He visited one of the South West’s largest companies in Dyson (Malmesbury), as well as two medium-sized businesses in furniture maker Canburg (Devizes) and IT services developer Scisys (Chippenham), and one smaller operation in waste recovery specialist Tetronics (Swindon).

He said: “It’s a real mix of companies doing all sorts of different things but they all have the common theme that they’re among the global leaders in the niches that they’re in and they’ve all got unique skills and capabilities.

“All of the companies I’ve seen are looking to expand and export more and more. I think the level of design and creativity in the South West is really strong.”

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