Manufacturing News

Incitec Pivot calls for action on gas prices after profit drop

James Fazzino, the CEO of Incitec Pivot, spoke of the need for governments to act on high Australian gas prices as the company announced a 23 per cent decline in first-half profits on Monday.

The CEO of Incitec, a heavy gas user, said prices were “still an issue for us”, and told reporters that the company continued to be in discussions with state and federal governments about gas supplies.

"It's a complex issue, all I can report is we're talking but we haven't done that, it's challenging,” AAP reports him as saying.

"The question is does someone want to act?"

High energy costs, along with the high Australian dollar, are frequently cited as a burden on the industry. Some, such as Fazzino, Dow Chemical's Andrew Liveris, and the AWU’s Paul Howes last week, have suggested a gas reservation policy to assist the country’s manufacturers.

"Manufacturing is growing and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, here in Australia it is tough to be a manufacturer," said Fazzino yesterday.

Incitec recently cited low US gas prices in its decision to invest in a US$ 850 million fertiliser plant in Louisiana. Affordable gas, driven by the country’s shale gas boom, has been credited with driving recent growth in that country’s manufacturing sector.

Last week’s Endeavour Awards’ keynote speaker, Sue Morphet, chairman of Manufacturing Australia – of which Incitec Pivot is a member – used her address to speak of the dire situation Australia faced if the country’s policy-makers didn’t respond effectively to currently unfettered gas exports.


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