Search
The WA Symphony Orchestra is a regular visitor to Asia.

Outward looking, export focused

Over the years, WA business has finessed its offering, from commodities to services, the arts and sophisticated technologies.

Click here for the full pdf litout

Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal is often mispronounced as Austral.

As chance would have it there is an Austral working out of Perth, Austral Fisheries and, like Austal, a maritime business.

But the similarities do not end there.

These two companies are incredible champions of their own products on the international stage, where no market is too hard or too far away for them to consider.

As Austal founder and executive chairman John Rothwell told an audience of 550 people at the Business News 25th anniversary event, his business now has operations in five countries and is the fourth biggest shipbuilder in the US, where its largest workforce is stationed making navy vessels.

Austral Fisheries also highlights its achievements in the US as a symbol of its success. Austral chief executive David Carter is proud of his business’s long fight to ensure the sustainability of its Patagonian toothfish operation off Heard Island deep in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Austral’s Glacier 51 Toothfish brand is now being supplied to high-end US venues such as top-class establishment Nobu Fifty Seven in New York, a market that requires not just the provenance of the brand to be assured but also a consistent year-round supply that would push the management and logistics capability of most businesses.

In the annals of Western Australia’s business history these two businesses are not unique in their global outlook. 

It is easy to suggest that a small and isolated population such as WA’s had little choice to be global in its outlook. What alternative did we have when we wanted to sell our goods?

From the very start the success of our primary resources, firstly whaling, timber and agriculture, and later mining and gas, required export to foreign markets, with far too few people to consume the abundance of this vast land.

It would have been easy to settle for that. But the examples above, of complex manufacturing and sophisticated value adding through branded produce, go far beyond the basics of commodities exploitation.

But we should not discount the impact of our resources marketing on the state’s psyche. For nearly two centuries we interacted with the furthest corners of the globe, touting our goods, learning from the best, becoming wealthy from our trade, and investing in ways to do things better here.

Austal may have become a global shipbuilder through its innovations in fast ferries and, later, military vessels, but its success was born from unique skills in aluminium boat making to meet the demands of the rock lobster industry, which needed very fast boats to get live produce to airports in time in order to reach consumers in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taiwan.

That reach into Asia, which includes decades of iron ore and minerals exports followed later by LNG, is not limited to natural resources.

Perth-based investment brokers and stockbrokers Argonaut opened a branch in Hong Kong in 2011. Value-added dairy products have long penetrated Asia, led by Peters & Brownes in the 1990s, which marketed its high end Connoisseur ice-cream brand to Japan and, more recently, Bannister Downs Dairy has been shipping its boutique label to Singapore.

Let’s not forget more obscure business leaders such as Mike Kenny, who started designing and manufacturing MetroCount boxes almost 30 years ago. Readers will recognise his work when they drive over the little black tubes on roads across the state. MetroCount is a leader in the traffic-monitoring world, with its devices in more than 100 countries across tens of thousands of locations at any one time.

Moodle is a Perth-based software company that has developed an open-source online course management system that has more than 100 million registered users at universities, colleges and businesses globally. 

Moodle didn’t lead the education push overseas. Several of our universities have campuses or joint ventures on foreign soil. ASX-listed Navitas is a world leader in creating education pathways for those aspiring to university education.

An online lecture presentation system developed by the University of Western Australia called Lectopia became a leader in its field globally before it was sold in 2006.

Even in the arts, WA organisations have followed in the footsteps of our corporate leaders,

The WA Symphony Orchestra has toured Asia many times, including visiting China as it opened to the world. In 2006, the orchestra sent 98 musicians to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, the capital of WA’s sister-state, the Zhejiang Province, on a tour to recognise the first LNG shipment to the emerging economic powerhouse.

Also on the cultural front it is hard not to notice the plethora of foreign representatives here. More than 90 countries have consulates in Perth, either formally staffed operations or more informal honorary roles. And WA has several trade offices around the world, a role most countries reserve for their nation’s diplomatic services.  

Add your comment

Austal (ASB)

Share Price

Closing price for the last 90 trading days
Source: Morningstar

BN30 Index

Index = 100 as of 4 Jan 2016
Source: Morningstar

Top 10 Shareholders

Substantial shareholders as published in the annual report.
Source: Morningstar

Total Shareholder Return as at 30/08/19

1 year TSR5 year TSR
50thAustal128%30%
132ndAutomotive Holdings Group48%1%
185thPerenti Global29%13%
474thSeven Group Holdings-18%22%
753rdSeven West Media-63%-23%
736 WA (and selected non WA) listed companies ranked by 1 year TSR relative to other companies with similar revenue
Source: Morningstar

Share Transactions

09/09/19
$5.0m Issued
08/07/19
$72k Issued
27/01/16
$4.6m Bought
Total value as at the date of the transaction
Source: Morningstar

Revenue

2nd-Automotive Holdings Group$5,917.2m
3rd-Seven Group Holdings$4,166.4m
4th↑Austal$1,868.7m
5th↑Perenti Global$1,846.5m
6th↓Seven West Media$1,556.4m
197 listed industrial companies ranked by revenue.
Source: Morningstar

BNiQ Disclaimer

Special Report

Great for the State – Edition 1: Global Outlook

Great for the State – Edition 1: Global Outlook

28 March 2019

Our new lift out series highlighting the best of WA and our place in the world

Welcome to Great for the State

Welcome to Great for the State 

As editor of Business News, I’m delighted to introduce a new feature that highlights the best of Western Australia. Great for the State is a 12-page lift-out that will be published each month over the course of 2019.

Science world focused on WA as telescopes scan the universe

Science world focused on WA as telescopes scan the universe 

Free to read: The Square Kilometre Array will provide a boost for science in WA, but there was a point nearly a decade ago where the project could have been lost to the state.

Entrepreneurs pave global pathways for tech

Entrepreneurs pave global pathways for tech 

Free to read: As WA’s tech sector continues to develop, Business News spoke to some of the people helping Perth’s entrepreneurs score wins in global markets.

WA’s seven wonders of the resources world

WA’s seven wonders of the resources world 

Free to read: Western Australia has been home to mining for centuries, evolving from ochre pits excavated by Aboriginal peoples for rituals, art and ceremonies, to a high-tech industry that can economically supply enormous quantities of resources worldwide. Global leadership in innovation and technology adoption has supported this growth. Here are seven of the best local examples.

Global vision delivers local prosperity

Global vision delivers local prosperity 

Free to read: Easier movement of goods, capital and people driven by improved technology and economic reform have helped an isolated region become one of the wealthiest in the world. We’ve collated highlights of how WA connects into the global marketplace.

Outward looking, export focused

Outward looking, export focused 

Over the years, WA business has finessed its offering, from commodities to services, the arts and sophisticated technologies.

Shaping our AV future

Shaping our AV future  

Disruption to traditional forms of travel means we all need to change our current way of thinking and develop a well-defined roadmap for a safe transition into our driverless future.

Our global outlook

Our global outlook 

Look no further than medical research for a successful model on global partnering.

Discoveries made in the laboratories here in Perth are published widely for the broader scientific community.  This worldwide sharing informs the work of scientists across the globe.

More than just iron ore

More than just iron ore 

It is well-known that Western Australia’s economic success is based on mining, but other industries like agribusiness, tourism, and education are stepping up. This, along with our close ties to Asia, is helping to drive our future economic and social prosperity.

UWA 2030: a blueprint for leadership

UWA 2030: a blueprint for leadership 

Over the coming months The University of Western Australia will launch its new vision, UWA 2030. It will be a bold statement in its own right, but more importantly it will provide the people of Western Australia with our blueprint for globally relevant and responsible leadership.