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Forgemasters take top China business award

16 February 2010

Sheffield Forgemasters' success in overseas trade was rewarded with top honours at the Yorkshire and Humber China Business Awards.

Forgemasters received the prestigious ‘Best China Business' award in recognition of the company's work to develop its China business base at a ceremony held at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.

The company's activities in the Chinese market, spanning a 20-year history, now mean more than a third of Forgemasters' products are now supplied to China.

Main business sectors include rolls, power generation and component supplies with Forgemasters benefitting from a strong reputation for advanced technology and processes, quality products and service to China. More than £90m worth of business has been secured between SFIL and China in the last 10 years with the bulk of contracts won between 2004-2009.

Last year Forgemasters signed a unique trade accord with Harbin Electric Company and has agreed a multi million pound investment programme with Chinese suppliers for new equipment for the company's new Heavy Machine Shop.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "The Yorkshire and Humber China Business Award is great recognition of the work that Sheffield Forgemasters' research and development teams have done in the development of highly specific engineered products and the ongoing work of our sales teams in securing key orders within China.

"Overseas trade underpins the majority of our contracts and the emerging economies of not only China, but India, Brazil and Russia are expanding the global marketplace.

"The award illustrates to me that the value we place in key skills here in the UK can clearly offer us the capacity to compete on an international commercial basis, even in times of global economic hardship."

Organised by Connect China and law firm DLA Piper, the awards aimed to improve awareness in the regional business community of the opportunities offered by trading with China, and reward those who have already made steps into this global economic powerhouse.

Over 250 people attended the awards following a record year of entries, demonstrating the extent to which the region has taken the opportunity offered by developing links with the Chinese economy.

Sheffield Hallam University received the award for Best Education Links with China while Leeds-based translation services company thebigwordGroup was recognised as ‘Best China Newcomer'

The success of Yorkshire businesses trading in China is backed by research released by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), which supported the awards in Sheffield. UKTI's research with the University of Leeds Business School ranked China as the top opportunity for business growth following the recession.

Congratulating the winning companies, Lord Davies, Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business, said: "Yorkshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to exporting to China, and UK Trade & Investment is keen to help more firms explore the potential there. I warmly congratulate the winners of these awards. I have worked with China and in China for many years. It is one of the world's most exciting and dynamic markets. These Yorkshire & Humber firms will be blazing a trail in the Year of the Tiger.

Pictured: SFIL's David Bunney and DLA Piper's Josh Wong.