25 August, 2020

One company, one team, one goal: a new chapter for Mercer Group

A single entity with a single focus; global expansion has arrived for a New Zealand engineering business.

A single entity with a single focus; global expansion has arrived for a New Zealand engineering business.

From the beginning of September, Mercer Group and its subsidiaries will be brought under one identity, MHM Automation, as it provides leading automated solutions to the world.

MHM Automation is the representation of Mercer Group’s businesses; Mercer Stainless, H&C Automated Solutions (formerly Haden & Custance) and Milmeq.

Across these business, MHM Automation provides automated solutions to the global dairy, cheese and protein sectors, packaging technologies, large scale chilling and freezing systems and stainless steel fabrication services.

CEO Richard Rookes said the new look and direction was an exciting change for the company, signaling the culmination of years of acquisitions and strategic business decisions that have transitioned the company to a technology and automation-led future.

“We’ve been using the phrase ‘The Future Looks Different’ to describe this new chapter because it really speaks to our overall vision moving forward,” he said.

“It was important to us that we honoured both where we’ve come from while also having a brand that reflected who we are today and where we are heading.

“We are now a technology-led company providing world leading engineered automated solutions to the world.”

The company had undertaken research earlier this year to gain a comprehensive overview of how staff viewed and represented the Mercer brand. These results were collated, and formed the building blocks of the rebrand, before arriving at MHM Automation.

The implementation of MHM Automation will be gradual, with product brands remaining at this stage given their excellent reputation and brand recognition.

Chairman Trevor Burt said the unification of Mercer’s businesses as a single, credible and trusted entity would allow them to more effectively deliver solutions to the global customer base and provide better opportunities to cross sell capability.

“We’re looking forward as MHM Automation with a highly skilled team, an expansive international customer base and a world-leading product set from which to consolidate and grow,” he said.

MHM Automation’s history spans 135 years and sits alongside the story of New Zealand’s development. MHM Automation designs and supplies world-leading, innovative food processing and packaging equipment globally, and its legacy brands have helped shape the New Zealand engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Meanwhile, MHM Automation (as Mercer Group) delivered the results of its 2020 financial year to the NZX on August 25. It has been a positive year with increased revenue, a more diversified business, and a return to profitability.

In the 2020 financial year, revenue increased 35% to $51.6m, driven by a $21.9m revenue increase in the Automation business. The Automation business reported revenue of $41.9m, which was 81% of total group revenue.

There are good workflows across the H&C Automated Solutions, Milmeq and Mercer Stainless businesses and the forward sales pipelines remain robust.

Due to COVID-19, the delivery and selling of solutions offshore has been adjusted. To this end, Scan American Corporation (Scan AM) has been appointed as a sales agent in North America to drive sales in the secondary meat processing and pharmaceutical sectors. Scan AM has more than 40 years’ experience in selling solutions into these sectors and will allow MHM Automation to retain and grow the momentum it has achieved in recent times in entering these sectors. Of note is the first de-boxing solution that has recently been sold into a leading US-based meat processor.

“We are confident that a drive for automation in the sectors we target will continue – there’s increasing demand for innovative automated solutions in the food processing industry that allow businesses to be more efficient in the delivery of their products, increase food safety and provide a safer environment for their workforce” Rookes said.

“COVID-19 has changed the conversation to a positive degree as businesses are seeing the value in automated systems that can continue to operate in environments like we see today.”

The Mercer Group ticker on the NZX will change from MGL to MHM on 1 September 2020.

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