Case study: Hornibrook Ngi


Papua New Guinea’s largest steel fabricator, Hornibrook NGI, provides of a wide range of products and services to the country’s mining and petroleum industry.

Hornibrook’s 6,400 square metre workshop in Lae has manufactured processing tanks for Tolukuma, conveyors for Porgera, pipe spooling for Kutubu, and what Managing Director Mal Lewis calls ‘probably our biggest job: hard ore hoppers for Lihir.’ The company also provides turnkey building services—right down to the furniture—such as accommodation it is currently building for Oil Search.

Lewis says Hornibrook has been involved in every mine project in PNG since the 1990s. ‘If you look at our business we had initially, steel fabrication, we used to have a fairly small building and construction entity because we used to sell the frames for the buildings … [then] six years ago suddenly everyone wanted to hire gear from us. Because we do it well, that business started to grow.’

Its transport division provides trucks, tankers and trailers to the sector, building them to the ‘tough, heavy duty’ standards required to cope with PNG roads. Other elements of Hornibrook’s verticallyintegrated business model include bridge construction and labour hire.

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PNG superannuation fund NASFUND’s 2007 investment in the company is opening up new opportunities, especially in property. Hornibrook is developing a ‘satellite suburb’ outside Lae, which it expects to generate retail and commercial development, supporting Lae as the gateway to oil, gas and mining activity in the Highlands region.

‘We started off six years ago with some shareholders’ loans and a zero on the balance sheet and no assets, and now we’ve got in the order of K100 million on the balance sheet,’ says Lewis. ‘There are investment opportunities all over the place if you can do it right.’

This article first published in Business Advantage PNG 2011/2012

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