I’ve always been a glass half-full type of person. With challenge comes opportunity. Change can be a dynamic force, it can paralyse or energise, and for our dynamic team here at InfraBuild – it’s the latter.
Over the past 18 months we have undertaken an ambitious transformation program to ensure this great Australian business is here for the longterm and fit for purpose. The work was already underway before the global pandemic hit 12 months ago, and I’m proud to say we’ve made terrific progress in spite of COVID-19.
InfraBuild is a strong business, in a strong position. We’ve just recorded our best half result (the six months to December 2020) since 2017. Our order books are full, our service and payment commitments continue to be met as per contracted terms, and our operations continue as usual. In fact, we are focused on adding capacity to our steelmaking and rolling mill to keep up with demand and maintain service for our customers. Our goal is to achieve EBITDA growth of 40 per cent this year.
Getting to this position didn’t happen overnight or through good luck. COVID-19 forced us to accelerate some of our transformation activities. We reviewed, identified and found back-office efficiencies, streamlined some of our operational activities and processes while carefully managing and reducing costs. Throughout it all we kept an unrelenting focus on our customers. We’ve continued to look at how our products and services best meet the current and emerging needs of partners in the construction, building and rural sectors. And we’ve had strong governance and guidance from our independent Board.
Now, as always, our team, and our people, remain committed to supporting the industry here in Australia, and through their efforts we are performing well in buoyant conditions for our industry – in spite of the lingering effects of COVID-19 on the broader economy.
The strong trading performance of InfraBuild was pleasingly acknowledged by Moody’s in its recent update, but what I’m most excited about is that the transformation effort from our people and our team is ongoing. Customer-centricity will continue to drive and sharpen our operations.
We’ve also improved on our globally recognised safety record. We recently notched up four consecutive months, lost time injury free. This is a terrific achievement. We genuinely want everyone, our people, customers and suppliers to go home safe, every day. Our teams are continuing to work hard on this area, maintaining rigorous occupational health and safety programs that are COVID-safe. This is important for a business that exists in 170 communities throughout Australia, one that embraces all stakeholders as part of our extended family.
There has been a lot media coverage and speculation following the collapse of Greensill and its impact on GFG Alliance. I know the group is managing the situation carefully, and I would like to reassure you that here at InfraBuild we are well positioned and open for business. We are committed to supporting our customers, playing a critical role in the supply of essential, domestically-manufactured steel to the Australian construction sector, and along the way, contributing to strong and sustainable local communities.
For more than a century, our business has supplied and contributed to the building of modern Australia, and the strength of the Australian steel industry. Our products and ongoing innovation have supported multiple sectors across the decades; from our primary producers, to those in the construction and residential sector; governments and construction partners involved in large-scale infrastructure – we’ve even played our part in supplying products to support wartime defence efforts.
Along the way we have played a vital role in maintaining and contributing to industry standards. We’re recognised for our sustainability credentials – and sustainable solutions – and continue to focus on research and development, along with product and service innovation to ensure our customers receive a competitive advantage that cannot be matched by offshore providers. Our use of recycled and up-cycled scrap metals and electric arc furnaces to manufacture lower carbon steel, puts us at the forefront of the green steel conversation.
I know that all of our people are acutely aware and proud of InfraBuild’s long history, as am I. Our people remain ready and eager to continue supporting you and I remain steadfastly confident and excited about InfraBuild’s future role in continuing to shape and build Australia for generations to come.
Dak Patel is the LIBERTY Steel Group Regional President (Australia and USA) and CEO InfraBuild
Article published on Thursday, 25 March 2021