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Thames Engineering Company Wins Export Award

Media Release

Please note: Embargoed to 1.30pm, Friday 22 February

Thames Engineering Company Wins Export Award - A & G Price

A & G Price Ltd, a 133-year-old heavy engineering company located in Thames, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award for building a multi-million-dollar export business.

Media are invited to attend the Export Award presentation to A & G Price by the
Minister for Trade Negotiations, the Honourable Jim Sutton, at the Thames Rugby Club at 1.30pm on Friday 22 February.

A privately owned New Zealand company, A & G Price has operated at the heavy end of the engineering market throughout its long history, building everything from steam engines to industrial presses. Today it specialises in high quality machine casting and repair and the maintenance and building of heavy machinery. Its products are used across numerous industries, including steel, forestry, marine and defence, and range from components for Singapore Army personnel carriers to keels for America’s Cup yachts.

A & G Price General Manager John Hillery says the business has achieved steady and sustainable growth since it started exporting 10 years ago, building off a strong domestic base. Export sales were valued at more than $6 million in 2001, accounting for a large portion of the company’s turnover.

Mr Hillery says A & G Price’s export strategy is to supply different products and services for different niche markets – military vehicle components and assemblies and railway components and repair services to Singapore, hydro electric components and repair services to Papua New Guinea, purpose built navy equipment to Australia, and shipbuilding sub assemblies and cement plant wear parts to Indonesia.

He says A & G Price capitalises on the popularity of New Zealand people in the areas it targets, particularly in South East Asia.

Trade New Zealand General Manager - Client Services Tim Harris congratulated A & G Price on building a profitable and sustainable export business.

“A & G Price is innovative and strategic in its approach to developing its international business. It has demonstrated a depth and level of achievement that is outstanding and one that the company should be very proud of.”

John Hillery says A & G Price established its international reputation with two major projects in the early 1990s. It was awarded four contracts on the ANZAC Ship Project – those contracts ran for eight continuous years. At the same time it won the contract to transform the Silver Star Train into the Eastern & Oriental Express luxury train, to run between Bangkok and Singapore. Supplying technical support, spare parts and repair services for the train has been ongoing.

A & G Price actively seeks customers who can offer it repeat business. It has worked scheduled for several years in advance, and while such forward planning takes a lot of effort, Mr Hillery says it avoids a boom and bust culture and uncertainty for staff.

“We go all out to keep the workforce fully employed – they work much better if they can see a future. Our staff take real pride in our success.”

With a staff of 125, A & G Price is the largest employer in Thames, with several generations of some families working for the company. Sourcing employers from the local high school, it operates an active apprenticeship scheme and offers a total career path within the company.

Mr Hillery says that the quality of A & G Price’s products and consistency of delivery are paramount to its export success. In 2001 it became the first New Zealand company to receive a Quality Award from Singapore, for the quality of its supply to Singapore Technologies Kinetic Ltd military vehicle programmes. In six years A & G Price delivered thousands of military vehicle parts worth millions of dollars without a single fault.

Owning or sharing intellectual property with its clients is also helping to stimulate
A & G Price’s export growth.

“Instead of being seen as simply a supplier of components, we also own the technology and that is enhancing the way we are perceived internationally. We are seen as a much stronger business partner and that is very important.”

For more information contact

John Hillery, A & G Price General Manager, phone 07 868 6060

Tim Harris, Trade New Zealand General Manager, phone 09 366 4768

Distributed by Aimee McClinchy, Trade New Zealand Communications, phone
09 915 5628, email

About the Trade New Zealand Export Awards:
The Trade New Zealand Export Awards, sponsored by DHL Worldwide Express, recognise outstanding achievement and growth by New Zealand exporters in international markets. Winners become contenders for the Supreme Exporter of the Year Award, announced at the annual dinner in May 2002.

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