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Austal’s record half year profit

Perth international shipbuilder Austal has posted a record half year profit to December despite revenue slipping 14 per cent to $722.4 million. Operating profit or EBIT of $71.1 million was up one per cent on the previous corresponding period to $70.5m. The record result was driven by a combination of enhanced EBIT margins and accelerated release of contingency reserves after consistently achieving key shipbuilding milestones. Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said: “We have delivered our highest interim EBIT figure, bettering the record result in the prior corresponding period despite the expected decrease in revenue. The earnings result affirmed Austal’s ability to continuously enhance our shipbuilding processes to efficiently achieve key milestones and successfully deliver shipbuilding and sustainment programs across our US and Australasia operations.” NPAT of $45.1 million was down 14 per cent due to a higher effective tax rate arising from the recognition of tax losses in the prior period and deferred R&D tax credits in the current period, as well as asset impairment arising from the Philippines typhoon. Austal has a healthy net cash position of $188.7 million.

Lavo gets $5m backing to expand

Hydrogen storage system manufacturer LAVO has received $5 million from the NSW Government Regional Job Creation Fund to expand prototyping, testing, and manufacturing for its LAVO Hydrogen Energy Storage System at Tomago in NSW. LAVO is commercialising its patented metal hydride storage technology whioch allows energy to be stored and released on demand. Recently consultancy, GHD won $265,000 from the UK Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to demonstrate the Lavo system supporting grid electricity. LAVO is a spin-out from the University of New South Wales.

Bisalloy’s bumper half year

Hardened and armour steel manufacturer Bisalloy Steel Group has reported an 88.7 per cent rise in EBITDA operating profit to $12.6 million for the half year to December. The bumper profit was driven by a revenue rise of 17.1 per cent to $55.2 million and margin growth, a result of high steel prices and the benefits of a management and strategy reset. The company’s co-operative joint venture in China saw strong volume growth, while its exports to Thailand and Indonesia remained profitable. Its Unanderra plant continued to perform, protected by Covid-19 measures. Bisalloy continues to engage with the Anti-Dumping Commission in relation to persistent dumping – previously penalised by the commission – of imported steel by its major competitor.

Rare earths demand propels Lynas’s profit

Buoyant demand for rare earths used to manufacture high technology products drove sales and profit to record levels in the half year to December for WA producer Lynas Rare Earths. Revenue was up from $202.5 million in the previous corresponding period to $314.8 million, driving a net profit increase for the half from $40.6 million $156.9 million. Neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) prices exceeded US$100/kg in November for the first time since 2011, according to CEO Amanda Lacaze. While Lynas’s ores from its Mt Weld resource are processed into metals at a factory in Malaysia, the company progressed construction of a partial processing facility in Kalgoorlie. A permanent disposal facility for residues from its Malaysian plant also received regulatory approval in the half. Lacaze said: “(We) have chartered our own ships to transport concentrate from Fremantle to Malaysia, providing more stability in feedstopck for our Malaysian processing facility.”

Dubbo rare earths project moves forward

Australian Strategic Materials has signed a Heads of Agreement with Hyundai Engineering Corporation to exclusively negotiate the delivery of the FEED studies for its proposed Dubbo rare earths project in New South Wales. HEC have been identified by ASM as the preferred candidate based on HEC’s experience and capability. Under the HoA, ASM and HEC have entered into an exclusivity period for the award of FEED by 31
March 2022 and subject to the successful delivery of FEED for the award of EPC until 25 February 2023. ASM Managing Director David Woodall said exclusively engaging with HEC was another key milestone in moving the Dubbo Project towards a Final Investment Decision and demonstrates the support the Dubbo Project has from key stakeholders in Korea. Woodall said: “The team at HEC are impressive being at the forefront of providing innovative and sustainable engineering solutions that will enable the successful delivery of our Dubbo Project, a key to our “mine to metal” strategy.”

WA manufacturers awarded regional grants

Five companies were announced as winners of Western Australian government Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants on Friday. The Goldfields-Esperance companies include Australian Potash, which received $250,000 to establish a centre for vocational training programs and employment pathways for local Aboriginal people, Goldfields Machining, awarded $75,000 for a hydraulic cylinder repair bench to enable on-site diagnostic and repair services on large-scale cylinders, Yirri Grove Olive Oil, awarded $60,000 to expand their production area, increase restaurant capacity and plant more olive trees, and the Shire of Dundas in partnership with Ngadju Traditional Owners and local mining companies, which will use a $200,000 grant to establish facilities to use waste timber from mine site clearing as a saleable product.

Picture: Austal

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