Buoyant times for Matrix
A commitment to innovation is helping West Australia’s Matrix Composites and Engineering Ltd become a world leader in developing and manufacturing subsea buoyancy systems for offshore oil and gas platforms.
Matrix’s new 20,000 m2 premises at the Australian Marine Park at Henderson, south of Perth, is home to the world’s largest and most advanced composite foam plant. It also includes a sophisticated underwater testing laboratory that can simulate conditions up to 5,000 metres below the ocean.
The company’s industrial chemists, materials scientists and aerospace engineers have developed innovative composite materials – from materials such as syntactic foam – that are used in the company’s ultra light marine buoyancy systems. These are stronger and lighter than the industry standard, making them less likely to crack or split.
Matrix also engineers downhole and completion systems for offshore oil and gas wells that are lighter and stronger than steel products they replace. They are designed to reduce drilling and completion times, improve safety and increase oil and gas well recovery rates.
CEO Aaron Begley says Matrix invests heavily in advanced tooling, materials research, and testing.
“We are product manufacturers, Aaron said. “And as such we need to look at opportunities to develop products. We anticipate products, and once they are developed, take them to commercialisation.
“We scanned our customers and found a demand for stronger and lighter systems.
“We tasked our research laboratory to develop a new material – which is able to be used at deeper depths but is also lighter and stronger.
“The result is a marine riser buoyancy product that is the highest quality, lowest density, strongest and most dimensionally accurate product available on the world market.
Ninety per cent of Matrix’s products are exported, and AusIndustry’s Tradex scheme is providing significant cash flow advantages.
“Tradex helps enormously from a cash flow perspective because we do not have to pay GST or customs duty, Aaron said.
“Nor do we have to worry about a convoluted drawback process. In effect, we are paying world prices for our raw materials. It puts us on a level playing field with the rest of the world.
“It would be much more difficult to operate a successful manufacturing business without Tradex. It is a great product – it is fair and easy to use.
The company’s commitment to R&D was widely recognised when it won a national Australian Export Award for Advanced Manufacturer in December 2010, as well as the 2011 Subsea Energy Australian Awards for the category of global exports.
Matrix exports to 30 countries, and its systems can even be found in the waters off Antarctica.
Matrix’s new Henderson complex south of Perth is the world’s largest and most sophisticated foam plant.
Matrix has been operating since 1980, and was publicly listed in 2009. The company employs 485 staff. Growth has doubled in recent years, and the West Australian company’s production line operates 24/7 to keep up with demand. Sales revenue increased by 82 per cent in financial year 2011.
Matrix also claims the Australian Government’s R&D Tax Concession, which was replaced in 2011 with the R&D Tax Incentive. The Incentive provides more generous incentives for research and development, and is the Australian Government’s principal tool for encouraging more research and development.
Matrix purpose built a syntactic foam plant in 2000, and a year later completed its first major riser buoyancy contracts.
In 2005 it undertook a major expansion of its heavy engineering plant, including constructing an underwater pressure testing chamber, which is the largest in the Asia Pacific region.
Matrix has a European sales office in England, as well as agents in India, Korea, the United States, and Malaysia.
Its products are also used by the mining and defence industries. The company’s product applications include offshore fixed platforms, flotation products, drilling products, marine and subsea operations, subsea production, pipeline, riser and completions, and well construction cementation equipment.
Tradex aims to make Australian exporters more competitive by providing up-front customs duty and GST exemptions on goods imported for subsequent export. The exemptions apply to eligible imported goods intended to be exported or incorporated into other goods to be exported. Export may be carried out by the importer or a third party. Tradex can provide significant cash flow benefits.
THE R&D TAX INCENTIVE
The new R&D Tax Incentive is a targeted tax offset designed to encourage more small companies to engage in research and development in Australia. It has two core components:
- a 45 per cent refundable tax offset for eligible entities with a turnover of less than $20 million per annum
- a non-refundable 40 per cent tax offset for all other eligible entities.
The Incentive effectively doubles the support for small firms to 15 cents in the dollar and increases support for all other firms by a third, to 10 cents in the dollar.
The R&D Tax Incentive is jointly administered by AusIndustry and the Australian Taxation Office.
The R&D Tax Incentive will apply to income years beginning on or after 1 July 2011. Applications for registration may be submitted from 1 July 2012 for companies with a standard income year (i.e. 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012).
Note: There may be links contained within this document which will transfer you from the AusIndustry website. AusIndustry does not have responsibility for these external websites nor does linking constitute any form of endorsement.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF files. To access functionality in PDF 'smart forms', including some application forms you will need at least Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.1 or above. You can download a free copy from the Adobe web site.
If you have any problems accessing an attached file, please contact the AusIndustry Hotline on 13 28 46 or email@example.com.