It was great to hear from two big hitters in an industry that is thriving in uncertain times.
John Wilton is the MD of Piping Speciality Supply Service (PSSS), providing equipment for sale and hire to the mining and infrastructure industries and CST Hire, a specialty truck hire business, while Nick Barnsdall is his investor.
John has a great track record of product innovation and company growth, so he’s in a great place to comment about the current marketplace.
Having built up a fleet of 200+ vehicles in just a few years, John has witnessed firsthand the growth of the infrastructure market in Australia, and it shows no sign of letting up.
- How John’s 20-year business relationships, and seeing the needs of the market, led to the birth of PSSS eight years ago
- PSSS operates Australia with, with ten staff, including two business development managers
- They operate on a supply only basis, providing equipment for specialist contractors
- CST Hire was established five years ago and now has more than 200 vehicles in the fleet, with more on the way
- The business began servicing the piping industry but has since broadened to other areas
- CST operates in Queensland, New South Wales, WA and the Northern Territory
- They provide off-road and on-road vehicles with specific functions for the pipeline, mining and infrastructure industries
- Such vehicles include 4X4 buses, cranes, 6X6 fuel trucks, servicing projects like rail lines, greenfield mines, rural and remote construction sites, etc.
- As the size of the fleet increases, prime movers currently being introduced
- PSSS is currently in the running to win an Australian Pipeline Gas Association innovation award
- One of their innovations is the introduction of reusable ‘pipe cones’ to replace timber skids for holding pipelines above ground
- Nick is a private investor with interests currently in 13 businesses in Australia, New Zealand and the UK
- Nick had worked on a project with John previously and, based on that experience, invested funding and expertise, as a non-executive director, when John started CST Hire
- Nick has almost 25 years of experience in the heavy industrial sector
- Nick introduced the Hyundai Construction Equipment brand to Australia and was the original CEO
- How PSSS and CST Hire fared during Covid
- How they were able to retain staff, despite the downturn that was felt a few months into lockdown
- What the future looks like for the sector
- Though some projects have been delayed due to Covid, most are still going ahead
- Why infrastructure is a good investment for private equity
- The federal government’s ten-year $110B infrastructure plan
- How Australia has dodged the severity of the GFC and Covid
- The importance of mining to the future of Australia
- Though coal is falling out of favour, other resources, rare minerals and precious metals still have excellent prospects