Case study

UKTI readies Tungum for export success in Brazil

Guidance and introductions from UKTI prepares tubing manufacturer Tungum to export its products into Brazil’s oil and gas industry.

Tungum tubing

Tungum tubing

Gloucester based Tungum Limited is now ready to start exporting to Brazil after taking advantage of a full programme of assistance from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). Tungum manufactures the specialist tubing products needed by oil and gas companies for use in harsh offshore environments.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world with and one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies. It has huge opportunities for UK companies across a range of sectors. Interest in Tungum products from Brazilian delegations at Offshore Europe gave impetus for a move into this market.

Ian Johnstone, Managing Director of Tungum said,

UKTI has taken a strong interest in helping us export to Brazil

Each step of the way, our advisers have guided us and shown us what to do next.

Establishing a reputation and business in a new market can be a difficult and time consuming process. UKTI has made it much easier and faster than it would have been on our own.

Read our guide on exporting to Brazil.

UKTI export assistance

Tungum joined Passport to Export, the UKTI programme that helps businesses to prepare for international markets, in 2011. After completing Passport in July 2012 it moved on to UKTI’s Gateway to Global Growth programme, which offers experienced exporters a bespoke programme of strategic support.

It then attended UKTI seminars which enabled them to learn more about export opportunities in Brazil. As a result they decided to research this potential target market further.

Tungum attended the Offshore Europe conference in Aberdeen in September 2012. UKTI introduced the company to representatives from Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras, and Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. Both organisations expressed interest in the tubing, and the meetings gave Tungum crucial insight into the Brazilian market.

In 2013 the company commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) report on Brazil. It asked UKTI to answer specific questions about the demand for its tubing and the market for foreign products there.

Ian Johnstone said,

The OMIS answered critical questions and gave us the confidence to proceed with our plan to find distributors in Brazil.

UKTI South West awarded the company a place in its High Impact in Growth Economies (HIGE) programme after seeing the interest from the Brazilian delegations in Tungum’s products. HIGE provides assistance to UK companies in the South West who are looking to develop their business in Brazil. It’s run by UKTI South West through support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

UKTI also completed a detailed commercial and marketing review of the company. The review resulted in the production of a technical brief in Portuguese, which could be given to potential clients and partners.

HIGE also ensured that Tungum had the right protections in place to safeguard its intellectual property, before exporting to a new market.

Read the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) guide on protecting your intellectual property in Brazil.

Brazil bound

Tungum made its first market visit to Brazil in November 2013.

UKTI South West’s HIGE team helped the company arrange accommodation and planned meetings with potential clients. These included representatives from Petrobras and Odebrecht, some of whom Tungum had met previously at Offshore Europe. UKTI also arranged introductions to distributors and professional services providers, such as lawyers.

During the trip, the company learned that it needed to first register as a supplier with Petrobras before it would be able to sell any of its products. UKTI then introduced Tungum to a consultant to help with the registration process. It expects registration to be completed by Autumn 2014 and its first sales to follow soon after.

Ian Johnstone said,

Without UKTI we would not have been able to prepare our company to export to Brazil.

Their introduction to the registration consultant is helping us get through the process quicker and more easily than we expected.

UKTI’s advice on the local business culture helped us build all important personal relationships with the potential clients that they introduced us to. We are now nearly ready to export and will continue working with UKTI as we build our customer base in Brazil.

Find out how UKTI can help you export. Arrange a face to face meeting with an international trade adviser.

Tungum Limited

Tungum, founded in 1933, manufactures and sells corrosion-resistant tubing made out of a brass alloy. Its first customer was the British military which used Tungum tubing on naval vessels and military aircraft during World War II. The company then branched out and started selling to the diving, marine and oil and gas industries.

Fast facts

Company: Tungum Limited

Industry: Oil and Gas

Target Market: Brazil

UKTI Services: High Impact in Growth Economies (HIGE) Programme, Passport to Export, OMIS, Gateway to Global Growth


Published 12 September 2014