Ulster Carpets in Dubai deal to fit out luxury hotel
Luxury manufacturer Ulster Carpets has won a major deal with a five-star resort in Dubai.
The Portadown company's deal with The Palm resort was announced by Economy Minister Simon Hamilton during a trade mission to the United Arab Emirates.
Ulster Carpets, a family-run company, has developed a major export business in high-end hotels and resorts around the world.
Account manager Scott Hanna said: "We have worked with local interior designers and the hotel to develop breathtaking designs which will be revealed when the hotel opens in early 2017.
"This is the latest in a long list of prestigious contracts for Ulster Carpets in the Gulf region, including the Burj Al Arab Dubai, the Sofitel Dubai Downtown, the Hilton Suites, the Marriott, the Conrad and the Hilton Convention of the Jabal Omar Development in Makkah KSA."
He said the company had benefited from the support of economic development agency Invest NI, which maintains staff in Dubai and Jeddah.
Mr Hamilton visited Ulster Carpets' office in the UAE. He said the deal reflected the Emirates' appreciation for the quality and innovation of Northern Ireland firms.
And he said the hotel sector in Dubai offered "significant opportunities" for firms in the province, as it would potentially extend to 100,000 rooms by 2020.
"The hotel supply chain market is one where innovation is particularly valued and there is real demand for quality, high-end products which our local companies are perfectly placed to meet," he said.
"Ulster Carpets is a great example of a local firm which has seized the opportunity of trading in the Gulf region, continuing to build on their growing worldwide reputation and demonstrating Northern Ireland companies can succeed on the global stage."
He added that local firms had taken part in a hotels industry exhibition in Dubai last month.
Turnover was up 6% to £64m at parent company Ulster Carpet Mills (Holdings) in the year to March 31, 2016 - partly as recovery in the housing market led to a pick-up in demand for its Axminster carpets.
But a change in accountancy rules contributed to a fall in pre-tax profits to £6.6m in the year to March 2016 - down 20% from £8.3m a year earlier.