Manufacturing Update 8

Toyota Australia profit up again ahead of factory closure

  • Imported Toyota HiLux sales have led the way for Toyota Australia, which managed an increase of 22 per cent in net profit after tax for the year ending March 31.
  • Fairfax reports that the profit result was assisted by over 40,000 HiLux utility vehicles – made in Thailand – sold.
  • Net profit after tax was $236 million for the period, the second straight profit result, and included $81 million in restructuring costs. These are associated with the company’s decision to end manufacturing in the last quarter of next year.
  • Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner praised the workers’ contribution.
  • “It has been extremely pleasing to see our employees continue their dedication and commitment to achieve our company goals,” he said in a statement.
  • “Their ongoing engagement has helped us to achieve these positive results.”

Coke boss wants less government control but more foreign numbers

  • According to a report on the ABC Rural program this morning, Coca Cola Amatil MD Alison Watkins has said that governments have no place meddling in local food manufacturing.
  • During a conference held in Sydney, Ms Watkins said she also supported the need for greater foreign investment for food and agribusiness in Australia, instead of government investment.
  • She quoted the recent ANZ’s Greener Pastures Report, which found Australia could double agricultural exports by 2050 but would need at least $1 trillion worth of investment from both domestic and foreign investors.
  • She also told the Agribusiness 2030 conference that Australia’s supermarket duopoly created a situation whereby suppliers could too easily lose shelf space and find their lines deleted.
  • At the same time, Ms Watkins noted that she was happy with supermarket support for locally-made products.
  • “That support’s really critical, and we’re focused on supplying product at the right cost,” she told ABC Rural.

Federal government announces Arrium assistance

  • The federal government announced a $49.2 million loan for Arrium’s iron ore mines, which it said would have an “immediate impact” on the iron ore and steel business.
  • AAP reports that the loan would be made for equipment, allowing higher grade iron ore to be produced at two mine sites owned by the company, which went into administration in April.
  • “It will have an immediate impact on the business, securing jobs, at Whyalla and Arrium, and it is exactly what the administrators have said is necessary to make the business viable into the future,”industry minister Chris Pyne told AAP.
  • The SA treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said it was worth investing in the mines, but iron ore was only relevant if the Whyalla steelworks were still operating.
  • The announcement follows a pledge by the opposition to provide $100 million in assistance: $50 million in grants and the same amount in loan guarantees. The SA Labor government has also announced it would provide $50 million in assistance.

    First graphene factory opened in Geelong

  • The first graphene factory in the country has been opened in Geelong, which can “consider itself the graphene capital of Australia” according to the company behind it.
  • The Geelong Advertiser reports that Imagine Intelligent Materials has opened its pilot-scale production plant in North Geelong, capable of producing up to 10 tonnes of the nanomaterial a year.
  • “The commissioning of this plant positions Imagine IM as one of the few graphene companies anywhere in the world with a path to market,” said Imagine IM CEO Chris Gilbey.
  • “Geelong can now consider itself the graphene capital of Australia”.
  • The plant was built by engineering firm Austeng. The one atom-thick product will be used under licence by Geofabrics Australasia –which was a winner at the recent Endeavour Awards – in self-reporting geotextiles.

Boss of Australian toy manufacturer wins global entrepreneur award

  • Manny Stuhl, co-owner of Australian toy manufacturer Moose Toys, has won a prestigious global award for entrepreneurship.
  • Toy News and others report that Stuhl, the executive chairman of Moose – which he runs with his wife and stepson – beat an international field of 55 to win the Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year award in Monaco.
  • Stuhl, who debuted on the BRW Rich List this year with an estimated family fortune of $1.24 billion, is the first Australian to win the award.
  • “We are a company that succeeds by focusing on innovation with integrity and a clear purpose to make children happy,” Stul is quoted by The Australian Financial Review as saying after winning the award.
  • “This has allowed us to grow exponentially, while overcoming huge challenges.”
  • The company’s turnover is estimated at around $600 million.
  • Its success story is made more remarkable by the recovery it has made after being nearly ruined by a chemical scare and recall in 2007 involving its Bindeez craft toys.

Source: Manufacturers' Monthly