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Portadown ice baths to boost German Olympians

A Co Armagh firm will soothe the aching muscles of the German Olympic team in the company's first venture into Europe.

Portadown company F3 Engineering will supply its ice bathing product to the Olympic Training Centre in Frankfurt.

Each unit, known as the POD, sells for around £5,000.

It is F3 Engineering's first contract outside the UK and follows a trip to the International Trade Fair for Amenity Areas, Sports and Pool Facilities in Cologne in October 2011.

The HydroPool products are temperature-controlled baths used by athletes to aid muscular recovery after intense activity.

F3 Engineering employs 34 people but said it would take on another six in the next three years as it expects sales will expand.

Operations director Alan Boal said: "Basically someone visited our trade stand in Germany at the end of last year and was so impressed that he came back to us and we did a deal," he said.

"We are now hoping to further market the product across Europe. Things are tough in the home market and export business seems to be the way forward.

The firm was supported by Invest NI. Its southern office manager Mark Bleakney said: "This export success will raise the company's profile in the European market and act as a springboard towards further sales."