Waveney firm eyes American markets
Paul Hill, business editorA family-run manufacturing business in East Anglia is to target the North American market next year with a new range of forklift trucks.Lowestoft's Nexen Group has started production of a new line of forklifts at its factory in Taiwan, with the aim of exporting to the United States early next year.Paul Hill, business editor
A family-run manufacturing business in East Anglia is to target the North American market next year with a new range of forklift trucks.
Lowestoft's Nexen Group has started production of a new line of forklifts at its factory in Taiwan, with the aim of exporting to the United States early next year.
The firm, which has a turnover of about �2.5m, already exports to 27 countries and expects to manufacture about 2,500 trucks a year.
Director Pam Oakes said: "We're one of the few companies in this industry which is expanding; most companies are decreasing.
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"But we run a very tight, lean ship and we're moving forward. People say you should look forward to growth in a recession and that's what we're doing.
"Markets in the UK are pretty slow, so we're looking at new areas to sell."
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Mrs Oakes said the new range of forklifts were designed for ease of maintenance, with the time taken to replace a radiator on a truck being cut from about one and a half hours to 15 minutes.
Nexen, which employs about 60 people in Lowestoft and about 40 in Taiwan, also operates one of the UK's largest hire fleets under the Waveney Fork Trucks and Lift Truck Rentals banners.
The firm began manufacturing in 2003 in a joint venture with an Asian manufacturer, but bought its own production facility in Taiwan later that year, though retaining the design team in Europe.
The firm moved from premises in Whapload Road last year to Waveney Drive at the Riverside Industrial Estate, where finishing, part-assembly and inspections of the trucks are carried out.
"Turnover in the UK market is about �2.5m and we have invested in excess of a similar figure in the Nexen site at Waveney Drive, Lowestoft," said Mrs Oakes.
"There are also future plans to expand this facility that supports our products not only in the UK but throughout Europe.
"2010 will see a significant investment in support of Nexen's entry into the North American market."