Exporting, company case study

Lighting up a growing market - Premier Hazard Ltd

An East coast business has developed two successful and separate routes into the Egyptian marketplace with its range of lighting products for emergency services vehicles.

Formed nearly three decades ago, Premier Hazard Ltd exports up to 45 per cent of its output to markets around the world selling via distributors and direct to customers. In Egypt it’s adopted a combination of both approaches.

The 35-strong company has become a regular supplier of light bars and information signs used on vehicles at Cairo Airport. It’s now become a regular three-yearly deal for the business.

Premier Hazard also sells to other customers via an agent it has carefully cultivated over the past five years. With the relationship cemented, there are hopes of building its profile to win extra business in the future.

“Building a relationship with the agent is very important because of the distance,” explains sales office manager Pippa Gravil. “And sometimes there are questions of interpretation and the agent can go out and speak directly to the customers. The agent also helps give us an understanding of their culture.

“Without any ill intent you could say or write something in a particular fashion which could be offensive to them and that’s the last thing you want.”

 Other Egyptian orders come to the firm from its sister company Britax in Germany, which builds ambulance bodies along with light bars, sirens and speakers.

As well as an understanding of cultural sensibilities, selling to the Egyptians also requires determination and often a cool head to deal with customs requirements, she adds.

“It can be a strange market to get into. At times the customs people can be difficult. For example, if Egyptian customers or agents give you a particular description to put on the paperwork, then you need to put it on word for word to avoid delays in clearance because they know the customs inside out.”