High-tech manufacturer Airedale International Air Conditioning, which employs over 400 people at its Leeds production facility, has won a £1m export order to supply specialised air conditioning units for the new Riyadh metro system in Saudi Arabia.
Airedale, which rebuilt its Rawdon factory after it was destroyed in a devastating fire five years ago, specialises in producing innovative precision air conditioning units designed for use in data centres where computer servers need to be maintained at a controlled temperature.
The Airedale ‘EasiCool’ units destined for Saudi Arabia are designed for precision applications and will be used to cool the server rooms incorporated in the new metro stations currently under construction. Riyadh’s new £18bn metro will consist of six lines covering 110 milesm and will incorporate 85 stations, with the first phase due to open next year.
Asim Ansari, Airedale’s export sales manager, said: “This is a fantastic contract win for us, on a huge and very high profile project. Exports now make up around 30 per cent of our sales at Airedale and we have been growing our presence in the Middle East over the last few years, after establishing an office in Dubai in 2014. This has allowed us to strengthen partnerships in the region, in this case with Saudi Temco, SETRA and the BACS Consortium, which are heavily involved with the design and construction of the project.”
Mr Ansari added that British goods are held in particularly high regard in the Middle East, which has helped to boost the firm’s export strategy. “The made-in-Britain pedigree carries a lot of influence in the UAE, as in many other countries. UK-engineered goods have become synonymous with the highest quality and continued technical innovation.”
Airedale, which was acquired by US thermal management business Modine in 2005, is a member of the Leeds City Region-based ExportExchange network of Yorkshire businesses. Mr Ansari, who gives free first-hand advice to fledgling exporters through the network, said: “We have been exporting our products for several decades and it’s very rewarding to be able to help other businesses by passing on some of that expertise.
“A carefully planned export strategy can be a way to future-proof a business, providing some protection against the anticipated after effects of Brexit and the negative impact on the UK economy that it’s forecast to create.”
Along with businesses such as Taylors of Harrogate, Seabrook Crisps and Huddersfield Town Football Club, Mr Ansari is one of around 60 ‘patrons’, or experienced exporters, that are part of the growing ExportExchange free peer-to-peer advice network.
ExportExchange is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, the Department for International Trade, and a number of private sector export specialists.