By Claire Reilly

Air conditioner manufacturer Seeley International is celebrating this week, following the announcement that the company won the Business SA Export Award for 2011, in the Large Manufacturer category.

The company is the largest air conditioner manufacturer in Australia, and produces Australian-designed and made evaporative air conditioners before shipping product across the world to countries including Portugal, Italy, Romania and the United States. The win marks the ninth year the company has received the award.

Seeley International Founder and Chairman, Frank Seeley said the company’s current successes build on a strong export history.

“We began exporting with a shipment to Iraq in 1980, 10 years before the Gulf War, with the first all-plastic portable evaporative air conditioners,” said Frank Seeley.

“We had a first-to-market advantage which enabled us to rapidly expand to the USA in 1985 followed by the opening of sales offices in Europe (1989), Spain (1998), France (2004) and Italy (2005).”

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Seeley said despite the challenges of the global financial crisis that hit home in 2009, the company continued to perform well on the international market.

“That was a great challenge, but we still maintained a strong international presence and at the close of 2009/2010, we had achieved record growth and sales in Australia, as well as substantial recovery in export markets, leading to a 23.5% increase in turnover,” he said.

“In 2010/2011 three dedicated export staff were employed in Adelaide to help grow export sales and that has paid off.”

According to Seeley, international exports help to balance out the fluctuations brought about by the seasonal nature of the category, and it is this international growth that has helped the company grow back home.

“Our point of difference is being a strong, Australian owned family business which, for more than 35 years, has continued to develop ground-breaking technological innovations, many of which have become industry standards across the world."