A British company bidding to become Hyster's agent in Iran has already picked up sales of USD160,000 through a series of trade fairs.
Alperton Ltd took stock to Iran and hired local staff to help with its sales push, said corporate manager Alan Rides. Alperton agents had travelled to Iran on sales trips 13 times in the past 14 months.
"It was a gamble, but it appears to have paid off. Usually agents try to make sales before buying stock and hiring staff, but we wanted to make a real impact," he said.
"It is a huge market and very difficult to break into because there is some very strong competition. Iran is the sort of place where people want to see what they are buying and where face-to-face business dealings are very important."
Alperton's participation in Iranian trade fairs was supported by Trade Partners UK, a British government network that encourages overseas trade and investment.
Alperton Ltd, based in Wembley, north London, already has experience of exporting into the Middle East. It is Hyster's agent in Libya, importing 98 percent of all forklifts into the country. The company accounts for one-tenth of the United Kingdom's exports to Libya.