Sell mining know-how overseas: Austrade

A senior trade official says Australian mining service businesses can overcome the sharp fall in local demand by targeting overseas mining hot spots.

Austrade’s chief Bruce Gosper made the comments while on a trip in Perth where he addressed an Asian Society function.

Gosper said his government-backed export promotion agency could be seen as the model for deeper economic connections with Australia’s Asian neighbours.

Gosper said Austrade had 60 per cent of its resources trained on the region and 40 per cent of its staff were fluent in Asian languages.

Despite the challenges facing the local services sector, namely a drop in mining investment, Gosper said meetings with companies in Perth revealed they were upbeat and "full of animal spirits" about their ability to win new work in Africa and Asia.

"It is a much riskier environment at the moment, but they are innovative and very optimistic about the services they can offer offshore, and not just to the likes of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton," he told WestBusiness


Gosper pointed to companies like Linfox as proof firms could build successful operations by selling their expertise offshore.

Mining service companies have been the hardest hit during the recent downturn in the mining sector.

This week Transfield Services to cut its profit estimates for the second time this year to as low as $62 million for the year to June.

The company now predicts a net profit before amortisation charges and write-offs of $62-65 million, a considerable downgrade from the $85-90 million forecast indicated earlier.

The company also announced it would slash 113 jobs.

Transfield pointed to the mining and resources sector downturn for the cuts, coupled with continuing pressure from customers to slash costs and charges for the considerably decrease in its earnings outlook.


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