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Export Award For Babcock Nz Ltd

Friday, June 6

Export Award For Babcock Nz Ltd - New Focus Reaps Rewards

Auckland, June 6, 2003 -- Auckland marine engineering company Babcock NZ Ltd has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award for outstanding growth in its international sales, increasing foreign exchange earnings from $1.5 million in 2000 to $13.5 million last year.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Franklin says Babcock has a track record of success in the refit, refurbishment and maintenance of ships, yachts and fishing vessels, with the company’s focus on all things marine within both the defence and commercial sectors.

Babcock NZ manages and operates the Devonport Dockyard engineering complex in Auckland. The company came to New Zealand with the commercialisation of the dockyard in 1994. Mr Franklin says in the early years Babcock’s primary focus was on supporting the Royal New Zealand Navy.

“We plan and manage complex, multi-disciplined warship maintenance periods where a diverse range of system modifications and equipment overhauls are carried out on hulls systems, propulsion plants and weapon systems.”

Since commercialisation, he says Babcock has built a growing portfolio of non-defence clients, successfully establishing refit and repair operations in the commercial marine, luxury yacht and fishing vessel sectors.

“Delivery of a high-end, value-added service has been enhanced by the recruitment of market specialists with experience and credibility to drive new business in the key areas of yacht services and fishing vessel refitting.”

And while ship repair continues to be the main activity of Babcock’s business, it recently undertook its first new build project. Mr Franklin says strategic alliances the company is developing with world-class yacht designers in New Zealand and overseas promise increased business in this sector.

“The new market segments we’ve been pursuing internationally have been responsible for our rise in exports over the past two years, and provide tremendous potential for the future.”

Mr Franklin says Babcock embarked on a strategy to establish itself in the international marketplace in the late 1990s, capitalising on the opportunities that arose for the New Zealand marine industry and the luxury yacht industry in particular, with Team New Zealand’s defence of the 2000 America’s Cup.

He says that export strategy, which has been very successful, included a considerable investment in marketing, staff and infrastructure.

Key export markets for Babcock include the USA - accounting for almost 70% of export sales in 2002, Europe, the Pacific and Australia.

Mr Franklin says Babcock has successfully gained market share by focusing on quality and technical proficiency and by adopting a very customer-driven culture which over time achieves results. He says doing things well has resulted in a high and increasing level of repeat customers.

Trade New Zealand Account Manager Murray Greenhalgh congratulated Babcock on winning a Trade New Zealand Export Award.

“The company has recently built on its solid engineering foundation to expand into new areas. That has resulted in a dramatic rise in its foreign exchange earnings.

“A critical success factor is its dry dock capability and its convenience to domestic and regional customers. Project management is another strength. It also has a large and diverse skilled workforce and has invested in training and IT in order to support its export strategy.”

Mike Franklin says Babcock takes a highly collaborative approach to its export business, forging strong strategic links with complementary companies in Auckland and around New Zealand to help it complete the range of complex projects it undertakes.

“We recognise the importance of local strategic links when competing on the world stage. Babcock has always been a prominent member and keen contribute to the marine industry export group MAREX and the Defence Industry Association.”

Mr Franklin is currently the chairman of the Marex group.

He says Babcock employs almost 250 people, with that number rising steadily due to success in non-Naval work and export activities. He says success has been achieved in not only winning international business, but also by preventing New Zealand based work from going offshore.


About the Trade New Zealand Export Awards:
The Trade New Zealand Export Awards, sponsored by DHL, recognise outstanding achievement and growth by New Zealand exporters in international markets. Winners become contenders for the Exporter of the Year in their sector category, and category winners (with the exception of the Emerging Exporter Category) then vie for the Supreme Exporter of the Year Award, announced at an annual dinner on 12 June 2003 in Christchurch.

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