Five questions for … Michael Kingston of K K Kingston


Lae-based plastics, chemicals and consumer products manufacturer K K Kingston anticipates a productive 2014 after returning to its core business in 2013. Business Advantage PNG caught up with Michael Kingston, its General Manager.

K K Kingston's Michael Kingston

K K Kingston’s Michael Kingston

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): How was business in 2013 compared to 2012?

Michael Kingston (MK): Business and demand across our manufactured products and imported industrial equipment is significantly down on the previous year.

BAPNG: What changes have occurred at K K Kingston over the past year?

MK: We have seen some significant change in 2013. With a focus on returning to our core business, our organisation has been through a phase of restructuring and rationalisation.

Our Speedway project continues to progress. This is a project to consolidate all our Lae operations onto one new green-field site on the outskirts of Lae.

‘Exchange rates and consequently the rising costs of our raw materials and packaging is a significant challenge at the moment.’

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We have introduced a number of new and updated products in 2013. This includes a new paper towel product, a new toilet paper product and a new formula laundry detergent powder to upgrade our current product. We expect to bring 6  to 10 new products to market in 2014.

BAPNG: A number of manufacturers in PNG are affected by cheap imports or dumping? Is K K Kingston one of them?

MK: Yes, but not to the same extent as other manufacturers. Of the products we manufacture for the retail industry, toilet paper is the main product category of ours that is affected by cheap imports. Toilet paper is also used by some companies to top up a container, they are then happy to distribute it in the market very cheaply.

BAPNG: What key challenges do you currently face as a manufacturer?

MK: Exchange rates and consequently the rising costs of our raw materials and packaging is a significant challenge at the moment. Skill shortages and specifically qualified tradesman is a big issue for us. Infrastructure continues to be an issue – water, power and transport being the big three that impact us as a manufacturer.

BAPNG: What flow-on benefits – to the community, other businesses or government – do you feel your business delivers through your manufacturing activity?

MK: Employment, skills development and training are the significant flow-on benefits of our manufacturing. With skill shortages, we have to build up staff capabilities to meet the requirements of our business. We work particularly hard to develop staff technical skills in tool and machinery maintenance, as well as electrical engineering.

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