Determined Efforts to Win Orders Honoured; Nine West Midlands Companies Sail Choppy Trading Waters to Land Queen's Awards

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Fewer firms in the West Midlands have won Queen's Awards for outstanding performances for export achievements, announced today, compared with last year.

Nine companies are among 133 in the UK which have received awards, but none of the nine were among the categories for technological and environmental achievement.

Last year 12 companies in the West Midlands won awards as well as two each for technological and environmental achievements.

Some of the companies have found sales sluggish and difficult in the domestic market, but determined efforts to win orders in export markets have brought them through choppy trading conditions.

To qualify for a Queen's Award a company must show a substantial and consistent increase in export earnings for three consecutive 12-month periods.

The strengthening pound and its effects on exporting companies may have tilted against some firms which appeared to be in the running for a Queen's Award before their sales started to fall away.

The West Midlands winners are Aston Packaging, Birmingham; Brintons, Kidderminster; H P Bulmer, Hereford; Dudson Group, Stoke-on-Trent; Griffin-Woodhouse, Cradley Heath; Huf UK, Willenhall; Inspec Fine Chemicals, Wolverhampton; JCB Parts and Attachments, Rocester, and Rover Group, Warwick Technology Park.

An aircraft electrical system eliminating several miles of wiring and providing a 50 per cent weight reduction and volume while increasing systems reliability by more than 30 per cent, has earned a Queen's Award for technological achievement for Smith's Industries Aerospace, Cheltenham.

Brintons is the UK's largest exporter of woven carpet and has invested heavily to create a global sales infrastructure. It exports 45 per cent of its production to over 70 countries.

Staffordshire company JCB has received its 14th Queen's Award of which 12 have been for exports and two for technological achievement.

In five years H P Bulmer has seen the company's export sales soar from 4.5 million litres to almost 16 million litres with Bulmer's accounting for 80 per cent of all UK cider exports.

Cider has even made inroads into the vodka drinking hinterland of Russia. …