Overseas expansion lifts corporate profile

Overseas expansion lifts- Patton.jpg“New Zealand companies and entrepreneurs should examine the enormous opportunities that India offers in the manufacturing, commercial and education sectors and profit from the country’s huge domestic market potential,” India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Retired Admiral Sureesh Mehta said during a visit to the offices of Patton New Zealand in Auckland on May 25.

That statement, made to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer Sameer Handa augured well, fitting into his Business Plan. With a healthy share in the domestic market, the 87-year-old company is currently considering increased presence in overseas markets, either as a manufacturer or distributor of a wide range of high utility products, or both.

Increasing productivity and profitability, providing complete product and service support to clients and seeking new markets have been the hallmarks of the success of Patton over the years. And since joining the company 15 years ago, Mr Handa has been steering its course, adding value to its mission of “providing innovative and complete solutions with quality products and superior services for all business associates in the refrigeration, air conditioning and mechanical services industry.”

Eventful decades

The past 15 years have been eventful for Patton in every field of its involvement. Turnover has increased from about $10 million to more than $50 million, the number of staff has risen from 30 to more than 140 today. The Company now accounts for 20 offices in four countries, including nine in New Zealand, eight in Australia, two in India and one in Thailand.

Overseas expansion lifts- Sameer Handa with Sureesh Mehta.jpg“The next two years will witness significant growth as we consider implementing our expansion plans which would include enhancing our manufacturing base, expanding in the existing markets and exploring new areas. Our professional and highly motivated staff and our partnership with various agencies and organisations around the world will help us achieve our objectives,” Mr Handa said.

Patton’s activities may not be visible to the average consumer but its products and services are crucial to the food and other industries, impacting health, food safety and even hygiene. The company manufactures unit coolers, condensing units, air-cooled condensers and dry coolers in Auckland and Christchurch. Supermarkets, superettes and convenience stores are among the customers who use its products.

Large racks for keeping items cool, chest freezers, absorption refrigerators, water chillers and glycol chillers are among its offering to the market.

Patton was also the first company in New Zealand to manufacture and market curved glass-fronted delicatessen and frozen food cabinets.

An impressive history

Established in 1923 by George Patton (called G E Patton Limited) as a modest operation in Christchurch, the company grew in less than seven years to produce a range of domestic refrigerators and flip top ice cream cabinets.

The Company was restructured and renamed Patton Refrigeration Limited and moved its head office to Auckland in the 1970s, reflecting the need to focus more on the commercial refrigeration business. The development programme included new range of condensing units, air-cooled condensers and unit coolers.

Today it is known as Patton Limited, a sign of its increasing role in diversified areas.

Expansion overseas

Patton seized an opportunity (about 30 years ago) to open a manufacturing and distribution facility across the Tasman. The decision to establish a unit in Sydney was strategic as bilateral relationship between Australia and New Zealand registered rapid growth, accruing benefits to the private sector in both countries.

The establishment of an office in Melbourne in 2004 was also strategic as it not only helped in serving the Victoria region but also complemented the accelerated progress of the Sydney facility. A Joint Venture with MetJak emerged in Perth in 2006, enabling Patton to enter West Australia.

That was just the beginning. As Mr Handa mentioned, the establishment of a manufacturing unit and sales office in Thailand in 2007 opened a new chapter in the Company’s history. Called Patton Aero Ltd, it is a joint venture between Patton Limited and Eastern Syntech Co Ltd of Thailand.

The Thai venture manufactures and markets the Patton Brand of specialty equipment for the refrigeration industry including condensing units, unit coolers, air-cooled condensers and water chillers.

“In many ways, our presence in Thailand was the harbinger for Patton’s vision to becoming a global company. Apart from servicing the growing markets in the Middle East and Africa, the success of the Joint Venture (which received ISO9001 Certification two years ago), encouraged us to mark our presence in India, with a sales office in Delhi.

Later the in same year Patton India opened with a sales office in Noida, Delhi.

“The refrigeration industry in India has rich potential. Representing many world leading refrigeration brands, along with our own capital plant, Patton India is respected for its technically experienced industry support,” Mr Handa said.    

Mr Mehta discussed with him the fast-growing food and dairy sector in India and the resultant opportunities for lead-players.

“Patton may consider setting up in own manufacturing plant in due course. We are in the initial stage of discussions within the company,” Mr Handa said.

Patton believes in encouraging young men and women becoming successful businesspersons and hence decided to sponsor the ‘Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Award 2010.

This new category is open for nominations or direct entry by young people of Indian origin who are 35 years old or less as on March 31. 2010. For entry forms and other details, visit www.inliba.co.nz. Read related story under People in Business in this section

Photo: The Head Office of Patton Limited at 88, Carbine Road, Mt Wellington, Auckland

Sameer Handa (left) with Indian High Commissioner Sureesh Mehta at his office on May 25, 2010.

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