17/09/2009 - 00:00

CFC in Underground move

17/09/2009 - 00:00

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HAZELMERE-BASED CFC Group, which has grown to become one of Western Australia's largest private companies, has moved to full ownership of Underground Services Australia.

CFC in Underground move

HAZELMERE-BASED CFC Group, which has grown to become one of Western Australia's largest private companies, has moved to full ownership of Underground Services Australia.

The acquisition will lift CFC's annual turnover to about $300 million and staff numbers to more than 600, making it the 13th largest private company in Western Australia, according to the WA Business News Book of Lists.

It also adds further diversification to CFC's activities, which include the Centurion trucking and logistics business, plus construction equipment and agricultural equipment distribution.

CFC has hired former Western Metals and Indago Resources managing director George Bauk to integrate Underground Services into the wider group and lead its national growth.

Underground founder Peter Rowles, who established the business 26 years ago, will stay in a business development role.

CFC executive chairman Philip Cardaci said his company had held a 50 per cent interest in Underground since 1997.

He anticipated the move to full ownership would allow Underground to be integrated into the larger group and facilitate stronger growth.

"Basically we want to take Underground to the next level and expand it on the east coast in particular," Mr Cardaci said.

He said Underground would add $42 million in sales and 110 staff, through he noted staffing levels had been scaled down over the past year.

Underground is a utilities infrastructure business in the areas of gas distribution, communications networks, underground power, street lighting, and water and sewer mains installation and distribution.

"By bringing the company into the group, we have the opportunity to capitalise on our experience in a wide range of markets," Mr Cardaci said

CFC would also look to exploit its network of 20 offices and branches across the country.

Mr Cardaci said the group was looking for rapid growth from its new business.

"The most exciting business for growth will be Underground, we could comfortably double or triple turnover," he said.

CFC's largest business is Centurion, which last year opened a purpose-built $40 million freight terminal in Hazelmere.

Centurion is the largest lead logistics provider in WA's north-west, and counts mining giant Rio Tinto among its clients.

Mr Cardaci said Centurion's business had been affected by the slowdown in mining investment during the past 12 months, following years of growth.

CFC is also the distributor of JCB construction and agricultural equipment while its Landgear business is a distributor of tractors in Australia and New Zealand.

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