North East export figures show positive signs of growth

HM Revenue & Customs statistics show exports in the North East have increased in the final quarter of 2013 by 8.9%

Matt Boyle, president and chief executive of Sevcon, with one of the company's electric cars
Matt Boyle, president and chief executive of Sevcon, with one of the company's electric cars

Welcome signs of growth have been reflected in the latest North East export figures, which show an 8.9% increase in the final quarter of 2013.

New statistics released by HM Revenue & Customs show during the three months from October to December, the total value of exports from the region was £3.039bn, an increase of £290m and 8.9% compared with the previous quarter.

This gave a 12-month rolling value of £11.58bn, compared with £11.56bn in the previous year’s rolling total up to the end of September 2013, following a readjustment of the figures by HMRC, representing a 0.18% increase in the North East compared to 0.13% for UK exports as a whole.

David Coppock, regional director for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in the North East, said he welcomed the fact that the latest readjusted figures showed positive signs of growth and the region’s annual total remained higher than the pre-recession figures.

But he stressed there was still much to be done and urged companies across the region to follow in the footsteps of successful exporters, such as Gateshead-based Sevcon Ltd.

Nasdaq-listed Sevcon has grown to become a world leader in the design and manufacture of controls for zero emission electric and hybrid vehicles and now supplies customers throughout the world from its operations in the UK, USA, France and the Asia Pacific region and through an international dealer network.

Sevcon’s customers are manufacturers of on and off-road vehicles including cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, fork lift trucks, aerial lifts, mining vehicles, airport tractors and sweepers.

Last month the company announced it had entered into a joint venture agreement with a major automotive supplier in China, Risenbo Technology Co Ltd, based in Hubei Province, to market and sell Sevcon products for on-road electric and hybrid vehicles. Matt Boyle, president and chief executive officer of Sevcon Ltd, said: “Sevcon’s revenue growth is routinely driven by increased shipments into our global export markets and this year that has been to all three of the geographic regions we serve.

“Although there are still challenging times, in Europe especially, the fact that we have a worldwide diverse customer base helps offset short-term growth problems in any one region. The fact that we export globally gives us a natural hedge against any one region or set of customers. Dependency on any one region, be it market, country or technology, increases risk of failure. The world is a far less intimidating place to do business when you explore the potential and possibilities.”

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