UK Government Minister visits Cardiff business making waves on global defence stage

Guto Bebb will today visit a Cardiff business which is making waves as a global supplier and manufacturer of live-saving specialist defence equipment.

BCB International is an established leader in the field of protective and survival equipment and has become a trusted supplier for troops serving in operations overseas.

The company has evolved from its early days as a cough medicine supplier, to become a major exporter of cutting-edge technologies and slick product design.

Guto Bebb will meet with the company’s Managing Director Andrew Howell to discuss how the company is branching out to new markets and developing new products for military services around the world.

UK Government Minister Guto Bebb said:

Businesses like BCB International are reaching out to international markets and putting Wales on the map.

It goes to show that a little Welsh innovation goes a long way - saving and protecting the lives of those hundreds and thousands of miles away, in often challenging and hostile environments.

There has never been a better time for Welsh companies like BCB to seize the moment and start exporting to new markets and the UK Government is standing by ready to support that aspiration.

BCB International has been designing and making specialised protective and survival equipment since 1854.

The company supplies military forces with equipment such as body armour, first aid kits and camping supplies. It exports 40 50 per cent of its products, mainly to the US, the Middle East and Europe and has a turnover of nearly £9million.

This year the company has won new business from new customers including the Canadian Defence Forces (Camouflage Face Paint), and the French (Fire Resistant Gloves) and Dutch Armies (Camp beds).

BCB has benefitted from UK Government help when it won a significant contract to supply the Ecuadorian Navy with 100 units of inflatable body armour. The country’s Navy wanted a payment guarantee and UK Export Finance stepped in to share the risk through its bond support scheme so BCB could use it as a working capital for the order and take on more business.

Andrew Howell Managing Director at BCB International said:

It is a pleasure to welcome the Minister to our premises and show him some of the quality products which are helping us capture new export business. We have exciting expansion plans which we look forward to briefing the Minister about.

Wales is already an exporting nation. There are currently more than 3,800 businesses in Wales that export, with a combined value of £13billion in the first quarter of 2017. Wales is also an attractive place for inward investment, with latest figures showing that 85 foreign direct investment projects were secured in Wales, creating 2,581 new jobs and safeguarding almost 9,000 more.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has produced a dedicated exporting guide, which sets out the full range of support available from the UK Government and contains inspiring stories of companies based in Wales that are successfully exporting, to 26,000 Welsh businesses encouraging them to think about opportunities for exporting.