County Durham firm is showered with export success

30th March 2012

County Durham firm is showered with export success

New exports to the Middle East look set to generate up to £400,000 worth of sales for a County Durham shower designer and manufacturer, after taking part in a major trade exhibition for the first time.

Roman Limited received funding from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) which enabled them to take part in the ISH Trade Fair – the only global bathroom exhibition – in Frankfurt last March for the very first time. The company also commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) report to identify potential stockists and distributors in their target markets to invite to their stand at the exhibition.

A year on, the Newton Aycliffe firm has won a number of contracts to supply enclosures and bath screens for projects in the Middle East, following a successful partnership being forged with a leading bathroom retailer based in Dubai.

David Osborne, Managing Director at Roman said:

“Export has very much become a key focus for us as a manufacturer over the past few years, so to get the opportunity to access funding that would enable us to further promote ourselves overseas was fantastic.

“When we exhibited at the ISH exhibition we were unsure what to expect with it being our first time at the show – however the reaction to our stand was fantastic and we have seen the Export department really develop as a direct result of the exhibition.

“The exhibition generated over 150 leads in over 20 countries worldwide and it also gave us a platform to meet existing customers from over 10 countries worldwide and showcase our new products.”

Following the exhibition Roman has also set up a trade showroom in Kuala Lumpur, to showcase their products to the Asian market. This will be the company’s gateway to supplying to the Asian and Australasia market, and it has already helped the company secure several new contracts including one to supply a luxury development of holiday homes on an exclusive island resort.

David Osborne continued:

“We once again utilised UKTI when setting up our showroom in Kuala Lumpur, to fly our Roman Technical Installers over to ensure all the showroom displays were correctly installed and to give product training. At the same time, the UKTI funding has helped us build our relationship with our retail partner in the Middle East, to facilitate meetings and product training.

“Recently we have seen a big increase in demand overseas for British made products, which are now being seen as a better quality purchase. More and more of our export partners are requesting we include a “Made in Britain” logo on all our marketing material as this has become a key selling point for them.

“Alongside this many of the export projects we have been involved with are looking for something very specific, so an ‘off the shelf’ enclosure or bath screen won’t always fit the brief. This is particularly prevalent in the Middle East, where we have quoted for and worked on fantastic hotel projects that the region is so well known for. Because we have an in-house design team and can offer a totally bespoke solution, we are a perfect fit for these types of contracts. This is all having a positive effect on Roman and driving our export division from strength to strength.”

Jeff Bean, UKTI’s International Trade Adviser, who worked with Roman to support them while they developed their export plan, said:

“Clearly Roman have identified target regions such as the Middle and Far East and with the support of UKTI funding available here in the North East have now secured some very meaningful business.  The company are proud to support “Britishness” overseas and are starting to see the benefits from doing this.

“Entering new markets and targeting your entry routes can open up a range of new opportunities, as Roman have found. Whether a company already has some overseas customers or is only just considering exporting, there will be a way that we at UKTI can assist them and I hope the success of Roman will inspire other firms across the North East to contact us to find out how we can help them grow globally.”

For more information about the wide range of support services available through UK Trade & Investment to help your company succeed overseas call the North East International Trade Hotline on 0845 05 05 054 or email You can also follow us on Twitter at
Notes to Editors

  1. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the Government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or telephone +44 (0)20 7215 8000.  For latest press releases, visit the online newsroom at You can also keep in touch with developments at UKTI through, and
  2. Companies in the North East can find out more about the services available through UK Trade & Investment by contacting the North East International Trade Hotline on 0845 05 05 054 or email:
  3. The Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) offers a flexible service that can be tailored to offer a range of support from researching the market and highlighting potential business contacts to guidance on technical standards, labelling and packaging requirements. It offers ten levels of service, built around the typical requirements of a business making its first steps into a new market, all providing a flexible blend of preparatory advice and research as well as support when a company visits the market. Prices vary depending on the level of service required. The overseas experts will propose a programme of support and advice that meets a company’s individual needs. This could include an analysis of possible market entry strategies, identification of possible business partners and preliminary discussions with them on the company’s behalf. Staff can also identify potential customers and contacts to meet during a visit to the target market. Research would highlight local conditions and may include advice on competitors, local regulations and standards relating to the company’s products or services. Staff can also assist with introductions to translators or interpreters, offer advice and assistance with publicity in the target market, help organise events and set up key appointments or find relevant tender opportunities.
  4. European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 International trade support services in the North East are financed in part by the European Union’s ERDF Competitiveness programme 2007-13, securing £5,999,216 of ERDF investment through the Department for Communities and Local Government.  The ERDF Competitiveness programme 2007-13 is investing over £250m in North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region. The ERDF Competitiveness programme 2007-13 for North East England is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government on behalf of the European Commission and regional partners. ERDF 2007-13 for North East England is focusing on:
  5. Innovation – promoting science technology and innovation in businesses and institutions across the region.
  6. Enterprise and business support – encouraging more people to start up in business, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, and helping established businesses develop, grow and innovate.
  7. More than £300m ERDF investment is available for the region from 2007-13.  ERDF investment is limited to 50% of total eligible cost and must be matched by other public and private sources.  For every pound of ERDF investment, regional partners lever in another pound for the key priorities of innovation, enterprise and business support.
  8. The programme is underpinned by the three important cross cutting themes of environmental sustainability, equality of opportunity and sustainable communities.
  9. For information about Roman Ltd, visit