Coogee Chemicals has started the new financial year with a freshly installed executive chairman in Tim Martin, and a new managing director in Grant Lukey.
Former chairman Gordon Martin, who took control of the fledgling business in 1971 and proceeded to build a successful national operation from its base in Kwinana, has moved into an executive director role.
The changes are the latest steps in a succession plan that the company has developed and implemented over the past three years.
Mr Lukey will continue to be based in Victoria, where he is responsible for the company’s methanol plant operations.
His promotion to managing director comes nine years after he joined the business and one year after he joined Coogee’s board as a director.
Nationally the business has about 400 permanent staff, including 100 in Queensland where it is investing $40 million to double the capacity of its chlor-alkali manufacturing operations.
Mr Martin said family ownership continued to serve the business well.
“We see no reason to exit or list,” he said.
“We’re still finding opportunities; we look to grow by working with bigger players.”
This strategy was illustrated by the Mitsubishi partnership, which was the latest of many projects Coogee has developed in tandem with larger businesses.
In this case, Coogee will be an equity investor and operator of the new fuel terminal.
Coogee Chemicals operates 10 manufacturing plants and four bulk liquid terminals around Australia and has a 50:50 joint venture with US company Huntsman in Malaysia.
Mr Martin anticipates more growth opportunities as traditional oil companies move out of refining and retailing, to be replaced by global trading companies that are looking for independent storage facilities.
Coogee Chemicals is ranked in BNiQ as one of WA’s top 25 private companies, with annual turnover around $300 million, though Mr Martin said this was not a good reflection of profitability in a capital-intensive industry.
He anticipates continuing to work closely with Mr Lukey.
“We’re a fairly flat business,” Mr Martin said.
“We don’t get too hung-up on formal reporting lines.”
He said his father would continue to focus on special projects, having already moved away from operational involvement.
“He’s involved with discrete projects, that gets him excited and out of bed every day,” Mr Martin said.
“I don’t see that changing any time soon.”
The Martin family has three representatives on the board, with Tim’s sister, Jennifer Roughan, serving as a non-executive director.