Steel fabricator NDA back in black

Steel fabrication firm NDA Group returned to profit in 2017 as a recovery in its key markets and an expanding footprint at home and abroad underpinned a 52% increase in sales.

The Hamilton-based company reported a profit of $951,000 in calendar 2017, turning around a loss of $15.4 million a year earlier, financial statements lodged with the Companies Office show. Revenue climbed to $162.8 million from $107 million, outpacing a 40% increase in costs to $156.8 million.

NDA’s steel fabrication products and services span Australia, New Zealand and the US. They focus on dairy, wine, food processing and beer, oil and gas, and water treatment.

Chief executive Mark Eglinton says last year’s sales growth came from “a broad-based recovery in our key markets” of dairy, wine, food processing and beer where activity returned to “more normal” levels.

That was supported by local expansion in Taranaki, Invercargill and Christchurch, and the acquisition of a business in Oklahoma, US that designs and manufactures heat exchangers and air cooling systems. NDA’s North American SHECO business makes specialist equipment for chemical, gas processing and water processing industries.

The accounts show the company projects more rapid revenue growth in the US during the next three years than in New Zealand and Australia. Eglinton said the US oil and gas processing market was “fast growing”.

“We continue to grow both in terms of revenue and profitability, albeit at slightly more modest rates than 2017,” he said in an email. “We have just commissioned a new manufacturing plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have materially increased our presence in the processed water segment in NZ and continue to invest significant resources into automating our design and manufacturing processes.”

NDA employs more than 700 people across its operations. Its wage bill rose 13 percent to $45.8 million last year.

In July last year, NDA bought Taylors Engineering for $6.4 million. The Blenheim-based company provided wine silos and equipment to the Marlborough wine industry. The deal was for $3.4 million upfront and $3 million deferred. It will expand NDA’s existing fabrication business for the wine sector.