A long-term push to enter the oil and gas industry is paying dividends for Adelaide-based manufacturer Korvest Ltd, which last financial year posted record revenue and a 46.5 per cent increase in profits after tax.
Revenue from Korvest’s trading activities rose 19.5 per cent from the previous year to $73.76 million, as a number of larger oil and gas projects reached the supply stage.
Managing director Alexander Kachellek said it had taken the company about five years to enter the competitive – and conservative – oil and gas industry, and the company was now beginning to reap the benefits.
One of Korvest’s four divisions, EzyStrut, has designed cable support and management systems that can handle the extremes of Australian weather. They are used onshore but also in LNG (liquefield natural gas) plants in Queensland and Western Australia.
The company, which now has about 275 employees from a diverse range of backgrounds, began life as a goldmining operation in South Australia in 1970. However soon after the business started, the goldmining industry declined, and Korvest shifted its focus to galvanising, buying and selling a number of metal businesses along the way.
These days Korvest operates the longest galvanising kettle in Australia, which is 14 metres long and can hold 350 tonnes of molten zinc at 450 degree temperatures. Steel items are dipped into the kettle to be coated with molten zinc, which acts to protect them against corrosion. Korvest, among other things, galvanises large pieces of steel for structural steel fabricators around Adelaide.
While its manufacturing plant and national distribution centre are in Adelaide, Korvest has sales offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, and distributors in Darwin, Townsville, Hobart and Christchurch.
An Australian market leader in cable and pipe support through its Ezystrut division, Korvest also has three other specialist divisions – Korvest Galvanisers, Titan Technologies and Power Step. These divisions supply products to installers and wholesalers, and many of Korvest’s products are used in large-scale services such as power stations, desalination plants, mining and resources, rail stations, and shopping centres.
With a culture of innovation, Korvest invests heavily in research and development, with a current focus on potential export markets such as Japan, the Philippines, Dubai and Malaysia.
Alexander Kachellek says employees are empowered to constantly look at improvements that can be made in the factory.
He says excellent people are one of three key factors needed to operate a successful company – together with providing a product that people need and efficient processes.
Kachellek says other large projects the company sees huge potential in over the next few years are fracking – a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock – in the Cooper Basin, and coal seam gas in Queensland.