Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed


Cochlear’s strong sales growth

Growth in services offered by hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear has driven sales revenue for the half year ended December 12 per cent higher in constant currency terms to $1,135 million. While sales of Cochlear implants rose seven per cent to 18,598 in the half, services revenues such as sound processor upgrades were up 19 per cent to $357.2 million, and now make up 32 per cent of total sales. Cochlear released a profit figure for its underlying net profit of $219.3 million. However net profit was $235.3 million, down 28 per cent on the previous corresponding period. Sales of implants declined slightly in developed markets, but grew strongly in developing ones. Following a post-covid boom in surgeries in the United States, implant surgeries operated below capacity throughout the half. However in the US volumes are still up on pre-covid levels.

Nova Systems’ sovereign centre of excellence

Defence engineering and services provider Nova Systems has announced the establishment of a sovereign centre of excellence providing Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) engineering and regulatory services for government, industry and defence. Nova Systems ANZ managing director Adam Smith said: “EMS is a significant resource and a key enabler for the growing national and international security domains. In a Defence context, EMS is a uniquely challenging environment for military and national
security operations. The ever-increasing complexity of managing the EMS in the modern battlespace is critical to achieve the mission objective.” All major industries that rely on wireless technologies depend on EMS access to function, from public safety and national security, mobile communications, Global Positioning Systems to wireless medical devices.

Genetic Technologies to launch genetic multi-test

Genetic Technologies Limited has received Australian and US approvals enabling it to launch its geneType Multi-test genetic cancer test (pictured) in Australia and the US. The company announced its Melbourne laboratory had simultaneously received NATA accreditation and US Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services CLIA-certification enabling commercial launch. The first phase launch in the week commencing 22 February will cover six diseases including breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancers, and coronary artery disease and Type-2 diabetes all in one test sample. GTG CEO Simon Morriss said: “This is a major milestone achievement for GTG…Gaining accreditation…enables the company to commercialise a product that has been years in the making and marks a significant turning point for the company.”

Thales begins new era at Lithgow

Defence contractor Thales Australia’s Lithgow Arms business has marked the beginning of a new industrial era for its Lithgow facility and 140-strong workforce, with a sod turning ceremony to commence construction of a new $6.5 million building, the first phase of an industrial plan to transform the 90 year old facility. Building on $70 million of investment by Thales Australia in the Lithgow facility that has included new equipment and product development over the past decade, phase 1 of this new plan will establish a modern manufacturing and integration hub for the design, development and precision manufacture of next generation weapons systems for the Australian Defence Force, industrial partners and export customers. Deputy NSW Premier Paul Toole said “This is a momentous occasion for both Thales and Lithgow today. The $6.5 million investment by Thales in a new facility here in Lithgow shows that Thales is going to be in Lithgow for a long long time.”

Sir Racha introduces Australian-made hot sauce

Sir Racha has launched an Australian made traditional sriracha hot sauce, claiming it to be ‘full of flavour but respectful to your tastebuds, giving a mild punch that everyone can enjoy’. Sir Racha’s Original Hot Sauce is made using Australian jalapenos fermented with garlic and onion to bring out natural sugars. This naturally sweetened mix is blended with vinegar to give it a sour tang. The company’s hot sauce development officer Eric Robinson said: “There is nothing better than a sauce you can use liberally on everything. It’s sweet, salty, sour and has that little bit of punch. With no added sugar, it really is a pantry staple.”

Quickstep’s bumper sales year

Aerospace composites manufacturer Quickstep has continued its sales growth trajectory announcing a statutory profit of $3.3 million in the first half FY22 on sales up 17 per cent to $47.3 million. Quickstep CEO Mark Burgess said the company saw its growth as sustainable, underpinned by accelerated supply of components in its core aerospace programmes. The introduction of 10 new products produced for the F-035 fighter boosted sales, as did revenue from the recently purchased maintenance facility at Tullamarine in Victoria. Quickstep is spending $3.94 at Tullamarine to improve facilities purchased from Boeing. Burgess said: “Our underlying EBITDA margin lifted by 1.8 per cent due to our strategic focus on delivering ongoing efficiencies including lean manufacturing initiatives and procurement synergies.” The Sydney company paid down bank debt by $0.8 million in the half, ending with debt of $6.9 million.

Australian Made logo registered in Philippines

The Australian Made Campaign has announced that the iconic green and gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) kangaroo logo is now a registered trademark in the Philippines. The symbol’s registration in the Philippines further protects the logo in export markets, with licensed Aussie makers and growers the only group allowed to use the logo. Australian Made Chief Executive, Ben Lazzaro said: “We know that the logo represents authenticity. Highly recognisable, it clearly identifies genuine Australian goods, making it an extremely valuable marketing tool for makers and growers. We’re proud that for more than 35 years the iconic symbol has aided Aussies to share their goods in key export markets around the world.” According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia exported $2,130 million worth of merchandise to the Philippines during the 2019-20 financial year.

Ocean Road Dairies launches organic A2 infant formula

Wellnex Life and Australian Dairy Nutritionals Group have formalised their joint venture to launch Australia’s first organic A2 infant formula range under a joint brand, Ocean Road Dairies. The venture sources fresh organic A2 milk from ADN’s Victorian farms. The formula will be distributed nationally through Chemist Warehouse by the end of 2022. National distribution of a future Gradulac Gentle infant formula range will also be handled by Chemist Warehouse and wholesaler Symbion.

Picture: Genetic Technologies Limited

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