Hills Holdings looks at acquisitions, moving away from steel

Hills Holdings CEO Ted Petty has used the company’s first-half results to outline a three-year vision that involves steel products becoming a lesser priority.

Prior to next month’s final announcement of its strategic review, Petty said that the company aimed to derive three-quarters of its revenue from non-steel products.

As reported by Manufacturers’ Monthly and others last November, Hills announced that it would shed 300 jobs from its Orrcon and Fielders steel operations, closing its Regency Park steel plant.

"Consistent with our prior advice, we have taken strong measures to restructure the group's activities and to focus on working capital, cash and costs,” said Petty yesterday.

Hills announced a net profit of $8.2 million for the first half of the financial year before impairment, closure and restructuring costs, and a $74 million after-tax loss.

The Australian reports that revenue – such as that from the planned sale of Orrcon and Fielders – would be put towards diversifying the company, as would, potentially, money that would formerly be returned as dividends.

"I'd like to see more reinvestment of our profits in growth in the future," said Petty.

More would be spent on product development and acquisitions.

"Rather than the small bolt-on acquisitions of the past, I think we need to target something somewhat larger in the future," said the CEO