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Indian export success for NZ construction firm

Indian export success for New Zealand construction firm

1 July 2005 – Rotorua based Hayes International has just secured a US$6million export contract in India.

Over a year in the making, it is expected to be the first of several projects for Hayes International in what has now become the 65th country they do business in.

The contract is for roll forming machinery which will go into three new, state-of-the-art production facilities. The company manufactures roll forming machinery whereby steel is rolled into metal building components.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Client Manager Warwick Downing, says the Indian market offers a lot of potential for specialist firms such as Hayes.

“It’s an increasingly important market for New Zealand firms and has its own complexities and challenges. Businesses who plan well and target high-growth opportunities have a positive future in the market and we have seen New Zealand exports growing from $157million (Dec 2003) to $196 million (Dec 2004),” says Mr Downing.

Hayes International General Manager Michael Lowe says, by mid-2003 the company had a “gut feel” the market in India could have huge potential.

“Hayes has been in this industry for more than 40 years and our steel industry sources indicated investment was being channelled into the industry in both galvanized and paint coating lines,” says Mr Lowe.

These are the products which end up going on buildings, says Mr. Lowe. This signalled to Hayes that India was poised to become the next big thing in the metal building industry. Mr Lowe refers to China in the mid-80’s, when building was predominately made from masonry. Fast forward to today, says Mr. Lowe and Hayes not only has a factory in China but behind Australia, it is their second largest market.

Mr. Lowe says the use of steel in construction, as opposed to the traditional bricks or concrete, provides a means of housing people quicker.

“The implications of this will mean a step-change for not only the Indian steel industry, but also for the Indian economy,” says Mr Lowe.

He says they acknowledge and congratulate the customer who is making the bold investment in the metal building industry. “Steel construction isn’t even taught in university yet so there is recognition that education processes need to be improved.”

Mr. Lowe applauds the preliminary work done by NZTE and their network of specialist staff in India. If they had gone in blindly, with no help from NZTE, success wouldn’t have come as quickly.

For Hayes, the follow-on effect of this first contract will be more valuable in an ongoing way.

Mr. Lowe says the first wave is the one big order from the first big customer. This in turn creates a ‘wonderful opportunity’ for them to continue to grow their business as middle size businesses will then want machinery in order to remain competitive.

They plan to maximise these opportunities by returning to India twice this year.

Mr. Lowe says their preliminary trips to India were the most comfortable experience he’d ever had in a truly foreign country. NZTE India office provided the initial, comprehensive market report and planned Hayes’ schedules.

They enjoyed well executed and detailed visits, says Mr. Lowe, with priceless on-ground support.

“India as a market has huge potential, not only for us, but for New Zealand exporters in general. If you’re lucky, you have one appointment a day and unless there is someone on the ground to assist, you end up spinning your wheels.”

NZTE’s Warwick Downing says it’s been very rewarding for NZTE to have been involved as a catalyst for growth over the past two years, and to witness the progression and opening of an exciting new market for Hayes International.



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