THE appointment of a new agent could open the way to millions of pounds of exports to South America for a Houghton company.

Although it started life manufacturing adhesive tapes and labels, it is in the professional dance and studio floors market that Le Mark, based at Sawtry Way, expects to thrive in South America.

The appointment of Claudia Pava gives the company a base in Medellin, Colombia, as a springboard to the whole of South America, managing director Stuart Gibbons believes.

Ms Pava had arranged a number of visits in Colombia during Mr Gibbons's recent visit to Florida, New York and South America, after they had met previously in London and had contact through UK Trade and Investment.

"People in South America had said they couldn't get our sort of product in South America other than through the US, and Claudia had put together a really good itinerary for me that included two great TV stations in Medellin, Colombia's second city, and five other companies.

"She had translated everything I sent her into Colombian Spanish, and we were getting a very good response to the products. By the end of the week we realised we could work well together," Mr Gibbons said.

"The market is as sophisticated as any other we would expect to be getting into, and we have other South American interests that she would like to look after for us, including Brazil, because she has Portuguese as a second language.

"It's a multi-million pound market for us, and the Brazilian economy is growing at a genuine 12 per cent a year. From a sporting and entertainment point of view it could be fantastic.

"Colombia is a hidden gem, too. It's a raw market with commitment to growing."