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Export offensive to target defence industry contracts

A WA company’s international experiences give it an advantage in a post-war Iraq, as Gary Kleyn reports.

A WESTERN Australian communications firm is quietly infiltrating the world’s defence force and peacekeeping business fraternity.

Now in its 27th year, Bibra Lake-based private firm Barrett Communications is positioning itself to take any orders resulting from the war in Iraq.

The United Nations has been on its order books for the past two years, with the company supplying an estimated half of the UN’s communication equipment needs. Only four months ago the firm, which employees 50 full-time staff, renewed its contract with the international agency for a further two years. The deal is expected to be worth up to $20 million during the two-year period.

In addition, managing director Phillip Bradshaw said the company was ready to take orders in the wake of the war in Iraq after already supplying an order into Afghanistan.

In the past, the company has also had contracts with the US military and the Australian Defence Force and currently exports to 64 countries.

The WA Business News Book of Lists 2003 ranks the company, with a turnover of $25.2 million in the 2001-02 year, as WA’s 48th largest exporter. During the 2001-02 year exports were valued at $19.5 million compared with $15.6 million in the previous year.

The strong growth in exports revenue places the company above Edith Cowan University and mining supply firm Supply Direct on the WA Business News ranking table.

And with a long list of potential clients and orders in the next year, Mr Bradshaw expects export growth to jump by more than 20 per cent in the 2003-04 year.

Barrett Communications develops and manufactures HF SSB communications equipment for long distance, autonomous communications in fixed stations, land mobile, maritime and aviation environments.

While the military and peace-keeping deals provide more than a distraction for Barrett Communi-cations, Mr Bradshaw said around 60 per cent of the business comes from other sources.

Other customers include the mining and mineral exploration sector, geographical survey companies, the commercial fishing industry, transport companies and remote communities.

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