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Powys manufacturer eyes growth through US and Japanese exports

An award-winning Welsh manufacturer, which was responsible for creating the world’s first-ever powered bath lift to help elderly and disabled people, is anticipating significant business growth through exports, following increasing demand for its products overseas.

Powys-based Mangar Health, a world leader in the design, manufacture and supply of inflatable moving and handling bathing equipment, is aiming to double its export revenues to £2.5m in the next three years by increasing its international presence, including expanding its provisions in America and entering Japanese markets.

The company, which this year achieved record-breaking turnover of > £10m, also saw exports accounting for almost of a fifth of its sales.

The US veteran healthcare market – which is worth more than $250 billion annually – is a key future target market for Mangar. Having secured Federal Supply Schedule accreditation earlier this year, the firm will now be able to supply its specialist products to the federal government, opening up doors within the lucrative veteran care sector.

Mangar Heath specialises in producing bathing equipment and aids including bath lifts, pillow lifts and emergency lifting cushions used to assist disabled and elderly people with everyday tasks such as getting in and out of bed, taking a bath, and lifting someone who has fallen over. Its products are used within care homes and private residential settings, as well as throughout the emergency services in the UK and further afield with clients including Ambulance Victoria in Australia, British Columbia in Canada and the Red Cross in Germany.

Established in 1981, the firm was founded by retired engineer David Garman, who was looking for a solution to help an elderly relative that was experiencing difficultly moving in and out of the bath. After inventing the first powered bath lift, David quickly discovered a huge demand for his product and the business was born.

Fast forward almost forty years and the company, which has 72 employees, has brought more than forty products to market and now exports to fourteen countries across the globe, including America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a number of European nations.

Most recently, Mangar has secured contracts in France and Italy following support from Welsh Government, accessed through Business Wales, to conduct market research and source distributors in these territories.

Clare Birt, Marketing Director at Mangar Health, said: “As our products are already being used by every ambulance service and local authority in the UK, looking at international markets was the logical next step for us to continue our growth as a business.

“Exports offer huge potential as the challenges faced by an aging population, that our products address, are consistent worldwide. Wherever you are in the world, people will experience these issues, and this opens up many opportunities for us.

“Over the last few years we have revised our export strategy to actively target key distributors in our territories and have some exciting prospects going forward. Receiving our FSS approval will give us access to the US veteran healthcare market, and with over 9 million veterans in the US, this will offer us huge opportunities. In the next three years, we plan to double our exports and the majority of growth will come from this lucrative market.”

In addition to its expansion in the US, Mangar Health is also looking to break into Japan – a new territory for the firm.  The company has already completed initial research into the country’s demographic and healthcare model through a Welsh Government International Trade Development programme and is set to attend a Welsh Government trade mission in Japan in September, where it will meet with prospective distributors.

Welsh Government’s Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan, said:

“Exporting can transform a business, and Mangar’s success demonstrates this. Companies who export are not just increasing sales and turnover, they are driving innovation and transforming the Welsh economy.

“It is great to see that Mangar is exporting to so many markets and can now grow its business in the US. I am pleased that they have benefited from Welsh Government export support, our goal is always to help great Welsh businesses grow and thrive.?