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Orica announces executive appointments including new CFO

Explosives technology group Orica has announced changes to its executive committee. Chief Financial Officer, Kim Kerr has decided to leave Orica and James Crough has been appointed as CFO. James joined Orica in May 2019 as Vice President of Finance, Australia Pacific and Asia. Subsequently, he was Interim Group Executive and President – Australia Pacific and Asia and was appointed as Group Executive and President – North America in October 2021. Meanwhile John Cooper has been appointed to the Executive Committee as President – North America – John has held senior roles across strategy, marketing and technology. Andrew Stewart has been appointed to the new role of President – Specialty Mining Chemicals where he will be responsible for the integration of Cyanco, as well as the growth of our existing specialty mining chemicals business. and Germán Morales’ role has been expanded to President – Australia Pacific and Sustainability where he will be responsible for sustainability, corporate affairs and property in addition to the Australia Pacific region. Commenting on the Executive changes, Orica Managing Director and CEO, Sanjeev Gandhi said: “These new appointments demonstrate the bench strength of Orica and ensure that we have the optimal structure to continue to deliver on our strategy for profitable growth.”

Carbonix tests VTOL drone technologies

Drone manufacturer Carbonix has recently conducted extensive testing of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capabilities as part of a proof-of-concept initiative. Notably, during the recent Taree Bridge to Beach Ski Race, in New South Wales, these trials yielded significant success, according to a sovcial media post. “Utilising VTOL drone technology, we achieved a comprehensive aerial perspective spanning the entirety of the 25-km race course. Streaming live footage back to the race control centre, the drones gave event coordinators visibility to assess the situation, and quickly and identify the need for next steps like altering the course, alerting other racers or sending medical help.” Carbonix manufacturer long range drones spoecialising in visual inspection of extended infrastructure.

Nufarm looks to 25 percent operating profit growth for FY24

Agricultural chemical manufacturer Nufarm has announced its latest half year results, revealing Statutory net profit after tax of $49 million on revenue of $1.8 billion. The company said its FY24 outlook was for an EBITDA of $350 million to $390 million, and in the longer term continued progress on key strategic growth milestones left the business on track to meet its FY26 revenue aspirations. Nufarm Managing Director and CEO Greg Hunt said: “Despite challenging conditions, Nufarm delivered a solid result for the first half of fiscal 24. For FY24 we expect EBITDA of between $350 million and $390 million. The mid-point of our guidance implies growth of 25 percent YoY in EBITDA in the second half of FY24. Our balance sheet position is strong. Our debt financing provides significant flexibility to meet movements in working capital, we have no near term refinancing requirements and we have minimal financial covenants associated with our facilities.”

Great Wrap links with Opal for compostable pallet wrap

Biodegradable clear wrap manufacturer Great Wrap has partnered with cardboard packaging and recycling company Opal to offer its Compostable Machine Pallet Wrap for businesses in Australia and New Zealand, enabling them to divert traditional pallet wrap away from landfills. Great Wrap’s Certified Compostable Machine Pallet Wrap is made with compostable biopolymers and plant-based oils, meeting what the company called ‘an urgent need to adopt compostable materials’. Opal Packaging Plus has been appointed as the exclusive distributor of the Pallet Wrap, and is the first compostable stretch wrap it offers. Jordy Kay, Co-founder of Great Wrap said: “Our machine pallet wrap stands out because it’s fully compostable, capable of a 250% pre-stretch, operates smoothly on high-speed lines, and maintains high tension for ultimate reliability. Our wrap is denser and stronger than traditional wrap, meaning our customers can reduce their wrap thickness to achieve the same results as they would with traditional wrap.”

Greening government supply chains needs changes to procurement

A new report from the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) recommends strategic changes to state and federal procurement policies to accelerate Australia’s net zero transition and support the growth of budding green industries like green steel and green hydrogen. The report, Green goods: Strategies for decarbonising government purchasing in Australia, said that better collaboration on these policies across all levels of government could significantly reduce emissions. With government procurement accounting for over 17% of GDP, its potential to drive demand towards low-emissions goods and services and act as a catalyst for building demand in key green industries is immense. But according to the report, a patchwork of green procurement practices across different levels of government is causing confusion among suppliers and government buyers alike, and does not properly incentivise firms to use materials that are better for the environment. While announcements such as the new federal Environmentally Sustainable Procurement Policy are welcome, significant gaps still remain. The report proposes short-term steps that governments can take now, including setting green procurement targets that include Scope 3 emissions, and measuring baseline procurement emissions. It also suggests collaborating closely with industries to understand what can be achieved, and encouraging innovation by suppliers.

Cyclopharm to raise $22 million

Radiopharmaceutical manufacturer Cyclopharm is to raise $22 million from investors to fund its rapid US market expansion. The company announced an institutional placement to raise $20 million and an offer to shareholders to raise a further $2 million. The placement is being conducted at a 13.9 percent discount to the company’s last price achieved on the ASX. Cyclopharm’s Technegas imaging system was recently approved for sale in the US market, the world’s largest. The raising will also be used to expand Technegas’s uses beyond the pulmonary embolism market.

Vale, industrial designer Robert Pataki OAM

Good Design Australia and the Australian industrial design community were deeply saddened to hear the news that Robert Pataki OAM has passed away. Robert was one of the giants of Industrial Design and will not only be remembered for his countless design breakthroughs but also his kindness, generosity and impeccable character. Some of Robert’s iconic designs include the Kambrook Powerboard, the world’s first multiple plug adapter (that we all take for granted today) and the Britax Safe’n Sound Baby Capsule baby seat that Lady Dianna famously carried Prince William in as a newborn. Robert was the recipient of the Australian Design Prize (2022) and Life Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia. Chair of Good Design Australia, Dr Brandon Gien said: “Robert was nothing short of a legend in the Industrial Design community in Australia. I had the pleasure and honour of working with him on many Good Design Award Jury Panels over the years. He was kind, super intelligent and knew pretty much everything there is to know about what makes good design (and what doesn’t!). I will miss him dearly.”

Universities, Therapeutics Innovation Australia announce partnership

UNSW Sydney has announced that it is partnering with Therapeutics Innovation Australia (TIA) as part of a new network established to support RNA research, development and commercialisation in Australia. The TIA RNA Products Capability is a collaboration between TIA, UNSW, Monash University, the University of Western Australia and University of Queensland, and supported by the Australian government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). The universities will serve as four foundational nodes or the ‘front doors’ to access RNA services and develop and manufacture cost-effective nucleic acids. UNSW Vice Chancellor, Professor Attila Brungs, said on Friday that work at the UNSW RNA Institute is contributing to the translation of bioscience into products. Said Brungs: “These products are the vaccines and treatments for emerging diseases like COVID-19 but they also serve as advanced therapeutics for the complex challenges posed by cancers, infectious diseases, rare genetic disorders, and neurodegenerative conditions – all areas to be pioneered by the UNSW RNA Institute.”

Picture: Carbonix/VTOL drone over Taree, NSW

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