Three Perth industrial businesses, including Fero Group and Hofmann Engineering, are set to invest more than $40 million in new manufacturing facilities after securing federal government grants.
Privately owned Fero Group will be making the largest investment, spending $23.9 million to design and build a new, highly automated galvanising plant at its Kewdale facilities.
It has secured a $4.9 million grant through the federal government’s Manufacturing Transition Programme to subsidise the new facility, which will expand its range of galvanised products for local and export markets.
The Kewdale investment follows the opening of a similar facility at the company’s Brisbane operation in 2010.
Fero was established in 1972 by brothers Mario and Andy Franco, who still serve on the company’s board, and is now led by managing director Michael Franco.
Bassendean-based Hofmann Engineering has secured a $1.75 million grant to support a planned $9.8 million investment at its recently acquired Newcastle factory in NSW.
Hofmann plans to expand its production of industrial gear transmissions and other precision equipment, with a particular focus on servicing the underground coalmining sector around Newcastle.
Earlier this year, Hofmann bought its 5,000 square metre facility in Newcastle from Falk Australia, which has exited the large gearing market worldwide.
This is one of the largest capacity heavy engineering facilities on the east coast for components up to 14 metres.
Hofmann was established in 1969 and has expanded from its Bassendean base to have facilities at Melbourne and Bendigo, as well as in Canada, Chile and India.
The company has been adept at securing government grants to support its investment in R&D and modern technology.
It secured $5 million in 2009 under the Climate Ready program and $3.2 million in 2007 under the Commercial Ready program.
US-based multinational Ecolab has been awarded a $3 million grant to support its national investment program.
It plans to spend $36.3 million upgrading four sites around Australia, including at Kwinana.
Finance director James Sullivan said the company planned to upgrade its Kwinana facility into a centre of excellence for its mining and energy business.
This will include investment in specialty manufacturing equipment, with works due to start in 2016 and be completed in 2017.
Ecolab has more than 140 staff in WA and 958 nationally, with Australian sales of $363 million in 2014.
Globally it operates in 170 countries and has annual sales of $US14 billion from its specialist water, hygiene and energy technologies and services.
Its Australian investments are designed to meet growing demand for clean water and energy, safe food, and healthy environments.
Nationally, 79 businesses applied for grants under the manufacturing transition program, with 19 successful applicants being awarded a total of $50 million.