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African moves for South West Group

BUNBURY-based engineering and construction firm the South West Group is set to become an international player after striking a joint venture deal with a South African company.

SWG and Stefanutti & Bressan have agreed to establish a new company under a joint banner, giving the local company access to African markets and a greater pool of resources.

SWG Board of Directors chairman and general manager Adrian McCauley said the cross-sharing of resources meant the capacity of the company had increased 10-fold.

“The resources now available to us are phenomenal,” he said.

“With both companies’ skills and resources we hope to start targeting more major engineering and construction contracts … the idea is to focus on big projects.”

The joint venture blossomed from two successful trade missions by the SWG to South Africa in 1999 and 2000.

“Stefanutti & Bressan saw the progress and growth of SWG and were impressed,” Mr McCauley said.

“Since it started in 1995 SWG had an annual growth rate of about 30 per cent at a time when the rest of the industry was shrinking.”

Mr McCauley estimated SWG was worth about $20 million by itself and Stefanutti & Bressan was worth more than $100 million.

“Putting the two together, I would not like to put a value on how much they would be worth because that could be limiting,” he said.

SWG recently won a contract for a sub-sea pipeline on the Woodside LNG train project and previously built the BHP hot briquette plant in Port Hedland.

South West Development Commission industry development adviser Bob Spence said the joint venture deal would not only open the gates to the African market but would greatly enhance the capacities of SWG.

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