Analysis and Commentary

Brickworks’ Lindsay Partridge to retire after great achievement

Analysis and Commentary

By Peter Roberts

Building products group Brickworks has announced the retirement of its long serving Managing Director Lindsay Partridge (pictured).

Partridge, who is to be replaced by COO Mark Ellenor, is one of the country’s best respected and most successful manufacturing leaders.

A ceramic engineer by training, he worked his way to the top job in 2000 through the company’s Austal Bricks business, and in his 39 years service has overseen a period of expansion and exemplary financial discipline that has seen the company emerge as a force here and in the United States.

He grew an essentially brick manufacturing operation with an asset base of $500 million to a large multinational organisation with an asset base of $6 billion as of 31 March 2024.

Brickworks Chairman Robert Millner said: “I would like to thank Lindsay for his outstanding dedication and leadership and the remarkable contribution he has made in growing and reshaping the Brickworks Group from a small brick making company to an ASX 150 listed company comprising successful international building products and large-scale industrial property JV businesses.

“He has made an extraordinary contribution to Brickworks and to the Australian building, construction and housing industry.”

All this is true and more.

Partridge brought a sense of quality design to bricks and masonry products, with the company now operating a string of sophisticated design studios in major cities here and in the US.

He successfully navigated a market entry into the United States, disrupting the market in a single geographic area in the Northeast of the country and buying and rationalising and restructuring a number of brick manufacturing businesses.

He took the US operation upmarket, giving it with the same design focus as Australia, helping Brickworks to survive in a market where competitors such as Boral stumbled and ultimately failed.

Lindsay Partridge said: “It is hard to believe that when I joined the company the market capitalisation of Brickworks was barely $150 million.

“None of us would have believed that almost 40 years later it would grow to where it is today. ”

Partridge also capitalised on Brickworks relationship with its major shareholder Washington H. Soul Pattinson (WHSP) which has holdings in manufacturer including Pharmaceutical Industries and electrical engineers Ampcontrol.

Brickworks has a 39.4 percent interest in WHSP which was valued at $2.142 billion at 31 July 2019. WHSP has delivered outstanding returns over the long term, with fifteen year returns of 11.6 percent per annum.

Partridge also made Brickworks assets work harder, with its Joint Venture Industrial Property Trust a 50/50 percent partnership between Brickworks and Goodman Industrial Trust.

Over the past decade it has grown and now has a total asset value of over $1.7 billion, with Brickworks share valued at $633 million. The venture holds around 3,750 hectares of operational land and 370 hectares of development land as well as 2,400 hectares of land in North America.

Of course many others contributed to Brickworks success under Partridge including new MD Mark Ellenor who was President of the North American operations for five years where he led the successful expansion and plant consolidation programme.

Nonetheless, Lindsay Partridge will be a hard act to follow.

Further reading
Brickworks emerges as powerful manufacturing force
Further reading:Brickworks frees up capital with new manufacturing property trust
Browse @AuManufacturing’s coverage of Brickworks here.

Picture: Lindsay Partridge

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