Visy opens new factory with optimism for Australian food capabilities

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd April 2013

The head of Australian packaging and recycling company Visy, Anthony Pratt, believes Australia’s manufacturing industry has a strong future.

The Australian newspaper reports that Mr Pratt made the comments while opening the new Visy Group $86 million Stapylton beverage can manufacturing facility on the Gold Coast on Thursday 28 March. The facility will be Australia’s first new can plant in more than twenty years.

The new factory was “further proof that competitive manufacturing can have a bright future in Australia, provided manufacturers are prepared to invest,” Mr Pratt told the crowd at the opening.

“We are very optimist about the future of Australian food and beverage. Queensland is a great State to manufacture in,” Mr Pratt said. “We think that the quality of the Australian worker is one of the best in the world. There is a great future for Australian manufacturing. We are always opening plants and will continue to do so,” he added.

The Company has invested $150 million in the site at Staplyton, which is halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The plant uses state-of-the-art equipment to produce lightweight aluminium cans for Visy customers such as Schweppes, Lion, Diageo and other beverage producers. It produces about 1.6 billion aluminium beverage cans and 600 million steel food cans.

The new drink can plant is located next to Visy’s corrugated cardboard box factory, which opened in 2006.

But Mr Pratt admitted that the present climate was challenging for Visy. He told The Weekend Australian that expanding into Asia has helped the Company continue to grow.

“Following our customers overseas tends to be where the growth is coming from at the moment,” Mr Pratt said. “One way we have mitigated [the effects of the challenging financial climate] is to set up a company in Singapore to buy things. That has been the 80 per cent way to eliminate our lemons. We buy $1 billion worth of stuff from abroad,” he said.

The trading company has allowed Visy to save a $100 million annually in equipment and supplies.

Australian Food News reported in November 2012 that Visy had announced plans to expand into Asia, taking a guidance role to help the Australian food industry grow export markets in the region.

Visy began in 1948 in Melbourne as a manufacturer of corrugated cardboard boxes. It now employs over 5,500 staff and operates in over 120 sites across Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, and has trading offices in Singapore and China.