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Cardiff medical manufacturer expands into the Middle East

Alana Rodgers, Head of Sales at Eakin Surgical

A medical device manufacturer in Cardiff has expanded its business into the Middle East for the first time after securing a contract in the region with the help of the Welsh Government.

Eakin Surgical, which produces high-quality, single-use surgical instruments from its site in Llanishen, set its sights on entering the Middle East market as part of the company’s strategy to grow its global presence and sales through exports.

The company has appointed a new distributor in the region after attending the Arab Health exhibition in Dubai as part of a Welsh Government trade mission. The deal will see Eakin Surgical’s products sold across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, opening up potentially huge new revenue streams for the business.

The Middle East is a key target market for the company alongside Latin America and parts of Asia, all of which have emerging and thriving healthcare and life sciences sectors.

International sales account for a third of Eakin Surgical’s business, but the company is aiming to triple its export figures over the next five years by entering these new target markets. It currently exports its products to 28 countries across Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Alana Rodgers, Head of Sales at Eakin Surgical said: “We did not have much of an international presence until around five years ago when we started exploring the opportunities that exporting offers. We now see exporting as a key route to business growth and are putting a strategy in place to expand our presence within our existing regions, like Europe, while entering new lucrative markets too.

“The Middle East is a brand-new venture for us but offers huge potential. After securing our first distributor, we are expecting our sales in the region to reach $300,000 by 2026. Add to that other key markets which have well established health sectors, like Asia and Latin America, and the possibilities are endless.”

The recent expansion comes after the company also secured a new distributor in Spain, and is in talks with another in Romania, after attending a Welsh Government trade mission to Medica, the world’s leading medical exhibition held in Germany, last year.

Support from the Welsh Government has played a key role in the company’s export growth over the last five years. As well as attending international exhibitions on various trade missions, the firm has received help developing an economic export plan and identifying possible customers and distributors overseas.

Alana added: “Looking ahead, Latin America will be the next area we will aim to enter, followed by Asia. Like the Middle East, these regions have expansive healthcare markets and a wealthy client base that is more open to disposable instruments, undeterred by the additional cost.

“We are currently building our portfolio for Latin America and plan to make use of further Welsh Government support to visit the region next year on a subsidised basis to assist with our market research.

“If it wasn’t for the help of our Welsh Government trade advisor, we wouldn’t have even known about the international exhibitions that we have attended, which have played a crucial role in our success having directly led to new business.”

Established in 2001, Eakin Surgical, part of the wider Eakin Healthcare Group, specialises in the manufacture of single use instruments used for complicated surgical procedures. The products offer a high-quality disposable alternative to permanent tools, which can compromise patient safety and outcomes due the difficulty in cleaning such intricate items.