Integrated steel manufacturing and recycling company InfraBuild recently announced its half-year financial results, marking an improvement in all financial indicators. According to the Australian company, the business has delivered strong financial and operational results, with the CEO and Managing Director vik bansal stating that “volumes are strong with growth across all segments, and we continue to improve our safety performance as we progress through our ‘good to great’ journey.”
Compared to the same period in 2021, half-year net sales in 2022 increased by 41%, reaching A$2.94 billion. Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) improved by 24% and volumes increased by 7%. EBITDA increased by 109% to a total of A$314 million, and EBITDA margin increased by 345 basis points. EBIT increased by 191% and margin improved by 433 basis points.
These numbers are indicative of the strong impact Bansal was able to have on InfraBuild during the relatively short time he served as CEO. Joining the company in July 2021, he previously spent around six years at the helm of Cleanaway, Australia’s largest waste management company, where as CEO he oversaw its significant growth. He has also held various management positions in Australia, Asia and the United States over the past two decades, including three years as General Manager of the OneSteel (now InfraBuild) business responsible for distribution services. steel and metal processing.
Through conscious and deliberate choices, Bansal applied his past experiences at InfraBuild, finding ways in his first year as CEO to see the company improve, work smarter, and deliver a superior corporate experience. . In his own words, “we are going from a good company to a great company”. His goals for the role were to make InfraBuild a leader in the sustainable steel industry, building local communities and strong economies across the country in the process.
Bansal has worked to refine corporate direction, update branding, and focus on providing quality products and services to InfraBuild customers. As Australia’s only vertically integrated electric arc furnace steelmaker and recycler, the company was already well-equipped across its recycling footprint, manufacturing infrastructure and downstream processing and distribution networks.
By implementing a new operating model, Bansal sought to create a sustainable competitive advantage by utilizing these inherent strengths. He established clear performance goals that help create customer-focused decision-making, and worked to foster a mindset of continuous improvement throughout the organization. Its focus on striving for excellence while maintaining capital discipline is set with the goal of enabling long-term growth and consistent investment in the business.
Over the years, Bansal has developed a corporate philosophy based on the belief that profit and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive. Rather than seeing sustainability as a problem that needs to be solved, he approached it as an opportunity to innovate, reconciling the two as tandem partners rather than opposing forces.
By applying this philosophy to InfraBuild, he underscored the company’s commitment to carbon neutrality and sought to make it the leader in sustainable steel within the industry. When Bansal joined the company, it was already known as one of Australia’s low carbon steelmakers, but through its leadership further initiatives were taken to reduce its carbon footprint.
This includes the launch of two research projects in collaboration with the University of Swinburne and the Steel Research Hub at the University of Wollongong which examine the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies in InfraBuild’s manufacturing processes. This includes the development and analysis of sound sensor technology for advanced control of steel ladles and data-driven solutions to improve the consistency of steel products.
Through these and many other initiatives, Bansal seeks to once again replicate the considerable success he has achieved throughout his career. Indeed, his first foray into the management of French manufacturing company Alstrom saw him take charge of a portfolio of untested products. Responsible for marketing and product line strategy in Australia and New Zealand, over three years, Bansal has made this category the most profitable product in the entire company.
But perhaps the best example of Bansal’s business performance to date is his stint at Cleanaway. When he joined the company, it was facing high executive turnover, disgruntled investors and struggling to recover from approximately $2.1 billion in debt. Six years later, he had taken financial metrics to record levels; it had gained over 120 places on the ASX stock index, becoming an ASX 100 company and increasing its market capitalization from less than A$1 billion to over A$5 billion.
Early in his tenure at Cleanaway, Bansal sought to take a holistic approach to bringing about change. It started with an overhaul of the company’s operating model, creating a solid foundation on which many more changes could be built. By identifying the company’s technical challenges, its overall strategy, and the behavior and commitment of the management team, he was able to quickly identify potential costs.
One of the biggest revelations according to Bansal was the fact that the company’s operation as a multi-brand company prevented it from being clear in its messaging. Prior to Bansal, the company was known as Transpacific Industries, but he eventually made the decision to change the name to become the company’s strongest brand with the longest history: Cleanaway. Along with this rebranding, a new mission statement and goal have been added: to make a sustainable future possible.
Bansal had identified that one of the company’s weakest points was its inability to focus on sustainability. By updating Cleanaway’s mission statement, he not only positioned the company as a waste management thought leader who would be at the forefront of positive change, but also signified the objective to make Cleanaway a company with long-term goals and the ability to achieve them. Along with the mission statement came Our Cleanaway Way, an on-page strategy developed by Bansal that clearly defined the company’s values and could be used as a guide for prioritization and decision-making while outlining what the we could expect each other.
After two years with the company, Bansal was able to implement its biggest initiative yet: Footprint 2025, a strategy that would serve as a roadmap to ensure Cleanaway had the right infrastructure in place to sustainably manage waste. Changes in international recycling policies meant that Australia’s waste management sector would soon face new challenges, and Footprint 2025 created long-term solutions that would enable more waste to be recovered as well as more to be processed. of recyclable materials. In line with the roadmap, over the next several years, Cleanaway began to significantly strengthen its capabilities through greenfield investments and strategic acquisitions.
Thanks to Bansal’s steady hand and eye for a comprehensive strategy, within six years Cleanaway had grown from a struggling waste management company to a successful business and industry leader. Although he’s still early in his years at InfraBuild, the most recent financial results indicate he’s taking the company down a similar path: seeing the potential for a good company to become great.
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