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Pontyclun manufacturer secures £1.1 million US deal

Will Crawford (left) and Peter Brewin (right), directors at Pontuclun-based manufacturer, Concrete Canvas

An award-winning South Wales manufacturing company has secured its biggest US export deal to date worth over $1.4 million USD (£1.1 million), thanks to support from the Welsh Government.

Pontyclun-based Concrete Canvas, which manufactures innovative flexible concrete fabric, signed the milestone deal as part of its wider expansion in the US, which includes lining canal networks across the West Coast.

The company is eyeing significant further expansion in the US as a route to export growth, having partnered with more than 12 new distributors in the country in the last 12 months. The deals will provide it with access to hundreds of new clients and Concrete Canvas expects its sales in the US to triple by 2026 as a direct result, accounting for 30% of its overall exports.

Founded in 2005, Concrete Canvas’ innovative concrete fabric sets to form a thin, durable and waterproof layer. The product is used in construction and provides over seven times greater abrasion resistance than traditional poured concrete, as well as lower carbon emissions and a faster installation time.

Exports currently account for over 85% of the company’s trade, with its products sold in over 100 countries across Australia, North America, Europe and South East Asia. In recent years, it has set up six international offices off the back of its export success including in Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Milan, Budapest, Houston and Sydney, with clients including Mott Macdonald, Jacobs, Aecom and Atkins.

Concrete Canvas’ CCX installation, West Coast USA

The Welsh firm, which employs 70 full time staff, is now set to further grow its global presence by working with a range of international irrigation ministries following the launch of its new product, CCX®, which has been designed to line canal infrastructure to prevent erosion and reduce water seepage loss. As it stands, approximately 30% of the world’s irrigated water transported via canals is estimated to be lost due to canal leakage – something Concrete Canvas hopes to change.

Will Crawford, director at Concrete Canvas said: “Our exporting journey is going from strength to strength across many different markets. Not only are we seeing ongoing expansion in the US, with our biggest deal to date breaking ground this month to install our innovative CCX® product, but we are also seeing growth in central Asia and Europe, in regions where water scarcity is prevalent.”

Key to Concrete Canvas’ export success has been its regular presence at international trade shows and trade missions, supported by the Welsh Government, enabling it to meet prospective customers that have directly led to new business.

Looking ahead, the company hopes to target more business in North America, India and central Asia, which it sees as key growth markets, with further support from the Welsh Government including through export market research projects, supported exhibitions and trade missions, as well as by being introduced to potential new customers within those regions.

Will added: “A huge part of our success has been meeting prospective partners and clients in international markets. Entry into new international markets can sometimes present challenges, especially when it comes to educating the market on the new, innovative materials that we produce. Having people on the ground, combined with the right support at home, has been invaluable to us in gaining entry and, ultimately trust, in new territories.”

Jeremy Miles, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Energy and Welsh Language said: “Exports are vital to the Welsh economy and it is fantastic to see the success of Concrete Canvas in markets across the globe. I am extremely pleased that Welsh Government support, delivered as part of our Export Action Plan, is making a real difference to businesses in Wales”