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The industry adjusts

The 1990s saw significant change in the Australian pump industry principally as a result of the changes to pump import tariffs.

David-McLiesh-&-Friends-12There was a significant rationalisation in Australia through mergers and acquisitions; and a significant refocusing of the business activities for these newly established companies. Reflecting the fact that many companies were now focussed on importing and selling pumps, rather than manufacturing and selling them, the association changed its name from APMA to Pump Industry Australia (PIA) in 2003.

Keith Sanders recalled that by the 2000s, “Many of the original players were now foreign owned and there were a number of smaller companies – none of whom were manufacturers, they were mostly pump distributors – who wanted to join the association, but were being knocked back because they didn’t fit into the pump manufacturer’s association framework.

“When we changed the name to the Pump Industry Association, the change was long overdue, and it was a reality check for the industry. The constitution was amended accordingly, and many of these smaller distributing companies were able to join the association.”

Ron-astall-1Of course the change in name was reflective of the evolution of the industry, and while this reflected the reality of the situation, it was obviously a difficult transition for many in the industry, highlighting the demise of Australia’s once-great pump manufacturing sector.

“The pump industry has changed enormously since the 1990s. The removal of tariff barriers started the decline which has never recovered,” said Ken Willcock. We have gone from a manufacturing industry with great technical and design excellence to an importing industry, and to a large extent that excellence has been lost. Even the major pump companies of the past are in the majority owned by overseas interests.”

The restructures, amalgamations and takeovers that continued in the first decade of the new millennium were paralleled around the world, with similar amalgamations of pump manufacturers taking place in North America and Europe.

A beneficial result has been seen in the improved profitability of the restructured organisations, which has attracted the interest of some global pump companies in developing Australian joint ventures.

 

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