Newton Aycliffe's Roman shower empire expands to Asia with HSBC support

County Durham shower manufacturer Roman is aiming to double export sales, having secured a £1.3m finance package


The Newton Aycliffe-headquartered company, which specialises in making shower enclosures and bath screens, has struck the finance deal with HSBC Commercial Bank, to help drive the firm’s international expansion plans and new product launches.

The 160-strong business has three main brands – Roman, Haven and Roman at Home – and it’s now targeting high-end retail markets in the UK and overseas with its new Decem range, launched last year, while also planning to introduce its Lumin8 range of enclosures later this year.

The firm recently posted turnover of £9.46m to the year ended March 2013, a 4.2% lift on the previous year’s £9.07m, and 10% of that figure was generated from overseas sales, with customers in France, Spain, Holland, Poland, Malta, Canada and the UAE.

David Osborne, Roman managing director, plans to grow export sales to 20% within three to five years, having identified significant growth opportunities in Singapore, USA and the Middle East.

The firm, established 29 years ago, has just set up Roman Asia, a subsidiary company in Malaysia, which is poised to increase sales in Asia especially in the South East Asia luxury hotel market.

David Osborne said: “Roman is growing internationally and we also have a subsidiary in Malaysia, which encouraged our move to HSBC. HSBC is a bank with genuine global reach, which is massively important in simplifying international trade.

“We aim to establish a number of partners in key markets and to be able to mature in those markets with all our new products. Roman is a well-established UK brand, and is home to the UK’s largest shower manufacturing plant. Being a British manufacturer is becoming increasingly important in international markets as it is a key differential and a trusted sign of the highest quality of products.”

Roman has now switched its full business banking to HSBC’s Tyne Tees Commercial team and a forward exchange contracts facility has been put in place, which helps protect the company against adverse movements in exchange rates.

Pat Dellow, HSBC Tyne Tees area commercial director, added: “Roman is proud of the quality of its products and the ‘Made in Britain’ stamp certainly strikes a chord with international buyers. This progressive and innovative company clearly recognises the benefits of targeting overseas growth, which helps to secure and create jobs in the North East and boosts the local economy.”

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