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Done Deal: Recent fundings secured, contracts inked and deals done, for the tl;dr crowd

Kiwibank has named Steve Jurkovich as its new CEO. Jurkovich, formerly of ASB, will take up the new role on July 30.

Jurkovich previously spent six years as ASB’s executive general manager role for corporate, commercial and rural banking.

Industry training organisation Competenz has appointed George Adams to its board of directors. The former chair of the NZ Food and Grocery Council, Adams currently holds chairman and directorship roles on the boards of the Occupational Health Advisory Board, the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum, Mix Cosmetics, Apollo Foods Tegel Group Holdings, Insightful.Mobi and Nexus Foams Ltd. He also led the 2014 Independent Forestry Safety Inquiry. Adams will replace outgoing board member Kelly Smith.

Competenz Chairman Mike Simm says Adams’ governance experience across many relevant industries makes him a valuable addition to the board. “We’re thrilled he has accepted this board appointment. He has a great deal of experience in governance and is a strong advocate for the FMCG sector. His 25 years’ experience leading companies in New Zealand, the Pacific and Europe gives him an in-depth appreciation of the benefits of industry training to learners, organisations and the country.

Adams will take up the directorship position on May 1.

George Adams.

New Zealand-based company XLam has opened the most technologically advanced Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) plant in the world in Australia. CLT is part of a new wave of prebuild construction technologies and is produced from timber, a renewable and sustainable material. CLT is often manufactured as large-format structural building elements, including walls, floors and roofs, created by bonding together timber boards in orthogonal layers.

CLT is currently part of a global phenomenon and is experiencing a high rate of uptake across Australia and New Zealand. XLam has been manufacturing the product since 2012.

XLam, which is Australasia’s largest manufacturer of CLT, began commercial production at its new custom-built AU$30 million factory last month.

Gary Caulfield, XLam chief executive officer, says: “We have seen a steady flow of orders for the new facility and production is well underway, however, we are taking more orders for projects of varying sizes. With project number six now underway, we are confident of maintaining more reduced lead times when compared to European supply.”

Caulfield says the opening of the 12,000 square-metre facility represents a milestone for the company and the industry. “The Wodonga facility will produce 60,000 cubic metres of CLT each year, which is enough to construct the equivalent of Melbourne’s 10-storey Forte Living green apartment block every week. It’s a game changer for the local market and will enable us to meet the significant demand for CLT.”

The opening of the factory will also have benefits for New Zealand, Caulfield says, with the plant able to supply treated timber to comply with New Zealand Building Code requirements.

The factory was supported by the Australian government, securing a AU$2.5 million grant from the Commonwealth Government Next Generation Australian Industry Grants, and an AU$450,000 grant from the Victorian Regional Development authority to support job development. Fifty-four local jobs have been created through the new facility, including 30 direct and 24 indirect.

“The new plant is not only providing direct employment opportunities but having a knock-on effect to suppliers and services providers, including the Australian forest and wood products industry and transport,” Caulfield says.

XLam, which provides design, manufacture and installation of the CLT panels, has also been investing heavily in its New Zealand operations, including extra staff and a new automated Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) cutting machine, to custom cut CLT panels to designers’ specifications. The NZ$3 million CNC investment will enable XLam to increase its New Zealand production by 30 percent.

“Our investments signal not only the demand we’re seeing in the Australian and New Zealand markets for CLT, but also our commitment to these markets and the fulfilment of forward orders,” Caulfield says.


New Zealand company Ohmio Automotion has signed an agreement to supply 150 Ohmio autonomous shuttles to South Korean company Southwest Coast Enterprise City Development Co Ltd (SolaSeaDo). The agreement is allegedly the largest global deal to date for autonomous shuttles.

The deal was signed in the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Much of the deal centres on the Ohmio LIFT, a 20-person shuttle that can be extended to carry up to 40-person (the Ohmio LIFT XT1) to operate on pre-determined routes without the need for a driver. It will provide services, similar to a tram, but with virtual rails. It is guided by a range of electronic systems.

Ohmio has been developed in Pakuranga, Auckland and launched the first demonstration in Christchurch last September, using prototype vehicles to showcase the technology of driverless automated shuttles and the robotic technologies that underpin them.

Music festival Rhythm and Vines has sold a controlling stake to the world’s biggest live entertainment company, Live Nation, for an undisclosed sum. 

Earlier this week, Idealog republished a story where co-founder and creative director Hamish Pinkham discussed the wild ride of 15 years at the helm of New Zealand’s award-winning New Years festival. 

Done deal!

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