“Let exports take you from Sevenoaks to Singapore” says Armourcoat Managing Director, Guy Whitehead

A Sevenoaks firm whose decorative surface finishes are sold and installed into some 80 countries, is set to share its experiences of export success with 147 other Kent firms at the launch of UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI) Export Week in the South East.

Armourcoat Surface Finishes develops and manufactures decorative products, from polished plasters to sculptural effects, and have enjoyed significant growth as a result of exporting over the past decade.

They are continuing to build on their international success with new partnerships being established in Shanghai and Cape Town.

The firm, whose Managing Director will be speaking at UKTI’s ‘Exporting for Growth’ seminar on 11 November at the Mercure Hotel in Maidstone, has created fantastic opportunities within the company, with the Kent-based installers now training partners across the world.

Managing Director of Armourcoat, Guy Whitehead, has worked closely with UKTI since 2006. Beginning with their first UKTI supported programme in India, the firm’s exports have gone from strength to strength as they continue to take advantage of a range of UKTI services along the way.

Guy said:

“Since Armourcoat first engaged with UKTI, it found a wealth of experience which has helped fast track the company’s overseas programme. Now half of revenues come from exports.

“From its export programme, Armourcoat has enjoyed huge levels of growth and has created exceptional career opportunities which exemplify what exporting can bring to Kent and UK companies.

“Along the way I have used a range of UKTI services, the Overseas Market Introductory Service (OMIS) being amongst the best. Through this service Armourcoat has been able to make good contacts in several markets.

“I immediately recognised the knowledge the people at UKTI held, particularly our excellent Trade Adviser Terry Dunk, whose expertise has been invaluable to Armourcoat.

“I am keen to make other companies aware of the opportunities that are out there. Without exports, Armourcoat would not have grown as it has. Such growth can mean greater employment for local people and will make a positive contribution to this country. This is why I am speaking at UKTI’s ‘Exporting for Growth’ Event.

“I want to show firms that if they have the belief, the preparation and the perseverance to succeed, then they can make it in markets all over the world. I believe Armourcoat has a positive export story and one I am happy to share with others who export or aspire to do so.”

Hosted by journalist and broadcaster Declan Curry, attendees will also be given the opportunity to hear from HSBC Chief Economist, Mark Berrisford-Smith for an up-to-the minute view on current and future international business opportunities and trends.

Lewis Scott, UKTI Regional Director for the South East, said:

“We have worked with Armourcoat for nearly a decade now. And although they export to a huge number of countries across the world, they are still growing and their ambition is impressive.

“Their fantastic success overseas is a shining reminder to other Kent firms that the sky really is the limit when it comes to exporting.

“By following their example and by learning about the support that is available to them through UKTI’s range of services, it is my hope that Kent companies attending this Export Week event in Maidstone will seize the opportunities out there.”

Latest HMRC stats reveal that the South East continues to be the biggest regional exporter, with the total value of exports from the South East for the first half of the year at £22.6 billion.

Kent County Council’s Trade Development manager, Steve Samson, who leads the Kent International Business programme said:

“We are convinced that there is a lot of untapped export potential in Kent and this event, along with a range of other trade-support initiatives, will help local firms to better understand the opportunities in overseas markets and how to go about accessing them.”

As part of Export Week, a week-long series of workshops, seminars and networking events hosted by UKTI, ‘Exporting for Growth’ is one of eight events across the South East aimed at getting the regions’ businesses exporting. Other events include a Brazil seminar, an ‘Export Control’ workshop and a ‘Researching Markets Overseas’ master class.

Tudor Price, Business Development Manager for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said:

  1. “The Chamber has seen a significant uplift in the number of customers requiring export certification and the UK has been sending some unusual goods to far flung places.
  2. “Anecdotally the businesses we deal with have seen new markets, new customers and greater support emerging over the last six months and now is a good time to look beyond our borders. Exporting for Growth is a must attend event for those looking for new sales.”

For more details of all events taking place during Export Week, you can visit

To find out more about the wide range of support services available through UK Trade & Investment to help your company succeed overseas call the South East International Trade Hotline on 08452 789 600 or email: You can also follow us on Twitter at


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