Santander recently took five fast growing UK businesses to Mexico as part of a Breakthrough sponsored international trade mission, led by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The aim is to tap into the opportunities for doing business in Mexico, one of the largest economies in Latin America . With its gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $1.845 trillion in 2013, Mexico ranked 11th in comparison to the rest of the world.
Among the companies on the trade mission was Hielman, provider of Triobos Coatings. Hielaman attended the trade mission through Santander’s Breakthrough program, which aims to help small business unlock their potential.
“Tribos was born from a paint protection business in Palma de Mallorca, specifically created for the treatment of Superyachts,” said Giles Truscott, marine and automotive sales manager at Hielaman. “With the core product in hand and working closely with the international chemical giant Dow Corning, Tribos was created, tested and then marketed throughout the Superyacht industry with the aim of protecting surfaces, saving on re-paint costs and increasing gloss finishes on multi million pound yachts.”
The company was relocated from Spain to the UK in 2009 in order to focus on developing Tribos from a pure Superyacht and Aviation business to one that could also focus on and fully support the volume opportunity presented by automotive.
“After early success with Nissan Europe, the business focused on extending the Nissan approvals to other parts of the world and then obtaining approvals for Tribos from other automotive manufacturers throughout the world, such as Bentley, GM, Infinity, Peugeot, Citroën, Mercedes Benz and Mazda,” said Truscott.
In addition to paint and gel coat protection, the Tribos product range now extends to glass, alloys and fabric protection and with currently 20 employees, the business is focusing on appointing the best possible distributors for Tribos worldwide.
Tribos is a polymer designed specifically to protect painted and glass surfaces for the automotive, marine and aviation markets with other protective products available for alloys and fabric surfaces for the automotive industry.
“Tribos is built on the strongest chemical backbone available and born out of the harshest environment, marine,” said Truscott. “Tribos protects against contaminants such as diesel stains, salt, UV and acid rain ensuring the paint retains a high gloss and all other protected surfaces have repellent surface which ‘locks out’ damaging water and salt crystals leaving a very easy-to-clean surface.”
“The formula contains an amino functional polymer that chemically bonds to the paint and glass surface, allowing for easy repairs and quick re-applications,” he added. “As the treatment cures, the polymers adhere to each other and cross-link themselves to create a flexible, durable, yet thin, protective layer. When it comes to paint protection specifically, the Tribos UV barrier reflects UV light, achieved through a titanium oxide polymer core. This prevents UV from penetrating or breaking down the barrier layer and degrading the colour and finish of the underlying surface.”
From an automotive point of view, Mexico presents a huge opportunity for Tribos both with dealerships and manufacturers. Mexico’s free trade agreements also make doing business with Mexican companies far quicker and simpler, according to Truscott.
“Recent visits to Mexico have also shown that there is business to be achieved with the aviation market too which we feel can easily run alongside the automotive without stretching our relatively small but expanding Mexican team,” said Truscott.
Mexico offers Tribos the ability to expand its global network of distributors and offices. “Tribos has proven successful in tests, setting up trade partners and joint ventures with automotive and marine manufacturers in SE Asia, Europe, South America and Scandinavia to name a few,” said Truscott. “Not all countries offer the opportunity to meet with such a large number of established automotive manufactures in one place that Mexico. Also with their strong ties to the U.S. and other surrounding countries, this allows us an alternative way into these countries.”
The trade mission proved to be quite successful for Tribos. “We have just initiated setting up a Tribos Mexico representative in January and had the opportunity to meet with some businesses at that time; this trade mission was extremely useful in cementing that relationship, further developing sales leads and creating new ones in addition to learning more about how to do business in Mexico,” said Truscott. “This trade mission has accelerated our business in Mexico and we hope will see sales generation in a matter of weeks, not months.”