Rocktec name to be retained

21:48, Jan 29 2013

Matamata mining and quarrying engineering equipment company Rocktec is set to become the North Island manufacturing base for the new owner, Christchurch's Southern Cross Engineering Group, one of the country's biggest mechanical engineering operators.

Chief executive Paul Thorn said the nearly 60-year-old South Island engineering specialist, which serviced the bulk materials handling, saw milling, wood re- processing, and heavy structural and mechanical engineering industries, would keep the Rocktec name and brands because they had "pulling power" and market value.

The 40 jobs at Rocktec's Matamata headquarters were safe, he said.

Rocktec's management are in Christchurch to discuss how their people and expertise can best be used to realise Southern Cross's aim of driving its annual revenues to $100 million in five years, Mr Thorn said.

It was possible more staff would be hired at Rocktec, which designs and makes specialist mining and quarrying equipment, and has a presence in Yatala, Queensland.

Rocktec was bought from the Stevenson Group for an undisclosed sum.

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The purchase, helped by bank debt, would assist Southern Cross's diversified product push into Australia, Mr Thorn said.

Rocktec employs, among others, engineers, draughtsmen, metal fabricators and welders.

Rocktec also has an international dealer and distribution network which supplies its equipment to clients worldwide.

A recent gypsum handling and conveyor project for Boral Australia in Victoria had been worth about $7m to SCE, and another conveyor and screen installation contract at a New South Wales rock quarry was towards $10m.

SCE revenues in the year to March 31, 2013 would be somewhere between $50m and $60m.

The quarry upgrade project had helped stimulate the Rocktec purchase, Mr Thorn said.

He said the Rocktec purchase would enable SCE to grow with a merger of two "high-performing" contract engineering companies.

"They each have a very strong performance history and both will market their established brands in their own areas of expertise. Each can support the other when needed.

"Rocktec had aspirations of growing into Perth . . . [Where] there's heaps of opportunity for the gear we build and the processes we can work in."

SCE was already working in Western Australia, with a $7m contract for equipment for an ammonium nitrate plant near Port Hedland.

Matamata Chronicle