Pittards, UK, have beaten competition from right across the country to scoop this year’s ‘Overall Exporter of the Year’ title in the HSBC sponsored 2002 International Business Awards.

The company also won the ‘Corporate Exporter of the Year’ award for companies with an annual turnover of over £25 million. Pittards received these prestigious awards at a ceremony held in London in November which was attended by more than 400 top UK exporters.

It recent years the company have invested heavily in research and development, introducing a new range of highly technical leathers that are sought after by the world’s leading brand names.

Last year Pittards experienced a difficult year due to the strength of sterling, BSE in Europe; the foot and mouth crisis in the UK and a sudden severe drop in its export market to the US following September 11.

Yet despite these challenging conditions, Pittards continued to increase their entry into highly competitive and new market areas. Last year, for instance, Pittards managed to increase their exports to Italy, traditionally a major leather manufacturing country, by an astonishing 100%.

Despite the strength of sterling, very strong local competition and a number of trading barriers, the company have also recently entered or increased business in a number of challenging regions including China, Vietnam, Russia, Rumania and Indonesia.

New markets now actively being pursued include Vietnam, Poland and Belarus. With Pittards’ determined approach to entering new areas, it is likely contracts for these regions will soon be finalised.