11/06/2009 - 00:00

Local steelmaker bucks the trend

11/06/2009 - 00:00


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Major resources projects in WA have insulated the local steel fabrication industry from the global financial crisis.

Local steelmaker bucks the trend

WITH many firms foundering during the financial downturn, a Kwinana engineering and steel fabrication company is celebrating its 40th anniversary by continuing the expansion of its operations.

Privately owned Pacific Industrial Company specialises in steel fabrication and construction projects for the resources sector, and operations manager Marco Mosole said despite a drop in tendering activity, the firm was well placed to ride out the downturn.

"We are seeing a slowdown in tendering activities with current committed projects, but we are also seeing interest in the uncommitted, the potential projects like Gorgon, (which are) still quite active in the marketplace," Mr Mosole said.

"Back in the 1990s when there was a downturn we had to source a lot of our work from the east coast; work was very quiet in WA so we ventured east.

"Currently that hasn't been a requirement because there's been an abundance of projects here."

Major contracts held by PIC include BHP Billiton Iron Ore's RPG5 rail expansion project, Woodside Petroleum's Pluto LNG development and Brookfield Multiplex's City Square office tower project.

Mr Mosole said the company owed its success to its staff, and planned to honour long-term employees at the company's anniversary celebrations later this year.

"Our people and our passion for the industry are what has been instrumental in us being able to execute the work," Mr Mosole said.

"We've always taken a can-do type approach to business and we've always structured the business on progressive development and growth within our own capacities."

Mr Mosole said constant reinvestment in facilities and equipment was the firm's main competitive advantage.

"The developments on this site have always been progressive and planned," he said.

"Each year we take an approach of spending a certain amount of profits and reinvesting those in the business and always keeping the facilities and the equipment up to date.

"The investment in all this equipment has certainly enabled us to do a lot bigger jobs, the floor areas of the workshops have also allowed us to accommodate hundreds of people to do these works and to do them efficiently."

PIC currently has annual turnover of more than $100 million, and employs 300 staff, but the company came from humble beginnings.

Formed in 1969 by Erasmo Mosole, PIC started in a 100 square metre workshop in Kwinana.

The 71-year-old Mr Mosole still puts in 10-hour days in the workshop, while his two sons, Marco and Sandro, have taken office positions with the company.

PIC business development manager George Petley said PIC's longevity was due to the commitment of its founder.

"[Erasmo Mosole's] passion has been the most important driving factor since day one," he said.

"They had a reputation for being very passionate and being able to do the job that you've asked them to do for the right price.

"If you had the job done by Pacific it was done on time, it was very high quality, and when you took it out to the bush to build a mine site it was going to work and that passion is still there today."


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