Australis Engineering acquires Brisbane based Precision Stainless Systems

Supplier: Australis Engineering By: Peter Gustafson
18 April, 2021

Australis Engineering acquires Precision Stainless Systems based in the Brisbane suburb of Darra, retaining all employees and with plans for building synergies between the companies.

New acquisition expands scale and capabilities

Brisbane based conveyor and stainless-steel fabricator, Precision Stainless Systems, has been purchased by Australis Engineering. The acquisition further adds to the Australis Group of engineering and conveyor related businesses co-owned by Sydney based brothers Peter and Anthony Gustafson and their parents.

Precision Stainless Systems specialise in the steel fabrication of conveyors, machinery and equipment for food and beverage manufacturers and non-food FMCG goods such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, batteries, pet foods and chemicals. Founded in 1996 by partners Trevor Higgins and Jeff Graham the company has earned an outstanding reputation for manufacturing high-quality equipment, especially in the meat, raw foods and beverage sectors. Precision Stainless Systems proudly supports the made in Australia philosophy by manufacturing all of its machinery at its facility in Darra in Brisbane, where it primarily focusses on servicing the Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory markets.

Newest addition to Australis Group

Precision will be the newest addition to the Group which includes Australis Engineering known for its conveyors, pallet handling and robotics and automation capabilities; Profilium who offer t-slot aluminium profiles and linear guides and with representation in Sydney and Melbourne; and Advance Conveyors who specialise in conveyor systems in particular roller conveyors and roller conveyor components.

Australis Managing Director, Peter Gustafson, says that the opportunity to purchase Precision was too good to pass-up. Precision have built an outstanding reputation for high quality fabrication of conveyors and other stainless structures such as special purpose processing equipment, tanks, walkways, platforms, troughs and other equipment, says Gustafson. Their reputation in the fresh meat and food sectors means they have seen outstanding results over a long period of time. Their Queensland presence, coupled with their strong conveyor expertise offers strong synergies with the other businesses in the Australis Group says Gustafson.

Australis, who purchased Precision Stainless Systems for an undisclosed sum, plan to keep the Brisbane manufacturing facility operating as usual, and will retain all Precision Stainless Systems employees. Gustafson will take up the role of Group Managing Director. Recruitment for a Precision Stainless Systems GM has commenced and this role will work closely with Higgins and Graham who will remain in the business until at least December 2021 to ensure an effective handover and to maintain business continuity.

Strong synergies exist between the companies in the Group

The Precision, Australis and Advance businesses, Gustafson stressed, will operate independently but synergistically.

Anthony Gustafson, Australis Engineering Director, says the synergy between Australis, Precision and Advance Conveyors revolves around the conveyor expertise that exists within each business. But beyond that, each business has its own strengths and all of the businesses will leverage these strengths to better service their own and each other’s customers with increased capabilities and better capacity for a wider geographic service delivery.

Australis will bring its extensive robotics and automation expertise to the other businesses, allowing Precision and Advance to offer everything from basic automation capabilities through to full turn-key robotic solutions rather than having to rely heavily on third parties for these capabilities. The addition of Precision Stainless Systems to the Group allows for a greater push into the fresh food market, especially in the meat and abattoir sectors and further increases the scale of local manufacturing capabilities by bringing its Darra facility into the Group. Anthony Gustafson says this couples nicely with the 2020 acquisition of Advance Conveyors that add low-cost roller conveyors and conveyor component supply and fabrication and which are used in so many of the projects across the Group. This will benefit each business individually and in turn our clients through better response times says Gustafson. Additionally, by adding Precision’s Brisbane location, Profilium will soon be able to offer local QLD stock of t-slot aluminium profile and accessories to its large and growing QLD client list.

Prior to the acquisition, Peter Gustafson said they had come to know Precision Stainless Systems through mutual projects. One of the things that really impressed us about Precision was their industry reputation. When you speak to their customers or suppliers, you hear about their high-quality fabrication standards and an unrelenting focus on delivering work on-time, even when it means going above and beyond to ensure the customer receives a product with extraordinary quality and attention to detail. This really shows in Trevor and Jeff’s business approach and integrity which closely aligns with our own family-owned business ethos and so makes the transition process much easier, said Gustafson.

Asked what attracted him to the Precision Stainless Systems business, Anthony Gustafson said that we were looking at ways to further grow Australis, Profilium and Advance and when the opportunity to purchase Precision came up, we realised there were obvious conveyor synergies which made immediate sense. But when we then looked deeper to the fabrication capabilities and market presence of Precision, we could see enormous potential for all of the companies to benefit from the new customers and new markets that each business brings to the table, and perhaps most importantly we feel that customers will benefit from access to increased scale and capabilities, greater geographic coverage and the retention of local manufacturing and project delivery from proven providers. The timing was also right for the previous owners Higgins and Graham who had been starting to plot a succession pathway towards retirement, and following a few months’ due diligence, the deal was finalised in April.

Second step of recent expansion

It has been an impressive start to 2021 for Australis following their purchase of an additional 1,100 sqm manufacturing facility at 3 Harley Crescent, Condell Park adjacent to their existing premises. The purchase and integration of numbers 3 and 25 Harley Crescent will more than double our Sydney manufacturing space and allow us to manufacture and test larger pieces of equipment or whole systems, said Peter Gustafson. When you also add in the new Precision facilities at Darra, QLD, which are around 2,000sqm in size, the Group has increased its manufacturing floorspace almost four-fold this year.

Peter and Anthony Gustafson say they are both looking forward to what the next twelve months will bring for all of the companies, but Precision Stainless Systems in particular. They are positive about the investment Australis has made, and the benefits it will bring to all businesses within the Group.