A $2.5 million incentive payment from the South Australian government has enticed engineering support services company Babcock International Group to move its Australasian headquarters to Adelaide.
Babcock Australasia chief executive Craig Lockhart said the new headquarters in Adelaide’s central business district and would bring together the different parts of the business and was a key step in its strategic growth plan for the next decade.
As part of the deal, Babcock’s aviation businesses, as well as Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia (previously headquartered in Brisbane) and Babcock Offshore Services Australasia would all be based in Adelaide.
“South Australia was the logical choice for our new Australasian headquarters, and the Babcock Mission Critical Services base, because it expands our existing presence here and centralises our helicopter operations in Australia,” Lockhart said in a statement.
“We can see that there’s a great pool of talent in South Australia, particularly in engineering, and there are promising synergies with the significant and growing defence industry.
“We appreciate the support of the State Government and Investment Attraction South Australia in helping us to consolidate and expand our operations in Adelaide.”
Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia, which provides helicopter support Emergency Medical (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), surveillance operations, law enforcement, aerial work and Marine Pilot Transfer (MPT) with a fleet of 20 helicopters based in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, was previously known as Australian Helicopters before it rebranded in June.
Similarly, Babcock Offshore Services Australasia, which supported its oil and gas clients, was the new name for what was previously known as Bond Helicopters.
“Becoming Babcock means a lot more than bringing both subsidiaries under the one logo,” Lockhart said at the time.
“It enables all the benefits that come with a local alignment with a global brand; it encourages better internal co-operation, higher levels of employee engagement and greater cohesion around our culture and values.”
Lockhart was joined by South Australian Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith in London for the official announcement.
“Having Babcock’s key decision-makers locally-based means South Australia will be front of mind for any future investment plans as the company seeks to expand,” Hamilton said in a statement.
“This positions the state favourably as the company seeks further expansion opportunities and will create a considerable multiplier effect for the local economy.”
Babcock said the $2.5 million payment from the state government would be spent on “local goods and services, including premises fit outs, recruitment, IT, consulting, training and induction”.
The relocation comes after the Australian Government said in April French company DCNS had been selected as the preferred international partner for the design of the Future Submarine, beating bids from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Germany and the Japanese government.
The 12 conventionally powered Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A submarines would be constructed at Osborne, northwest of Adelaide.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the Babcock move was part of transforming the state’s economy “towards a high-tech future”.
“By making Adelaide their head office in Australasia, Babcock is playing an important part in helping us achieve this,” the Premier said in a statement.
“This company has had a big role in the past in the Collins class submarine and will have a continuing role in sustaining the Collins class until the Future Submarines project arrives.”
Babcock said it had about 700 staff in Australia and New Zealand working in the defence, aviation, ports and engineering consultancy sectors.
Globally, the company generated annual revenues of A$8 billion, was present in 16 countries and had more than 35,000 employees.
In June, Babcock Offshore Services opened a new operations centre at Darwin Airport, where it has based two Sikorski S-92 helicopters. It also has a base in regional Western Australia. Clients included PTTEP Australasia, Woodside, ConocoPhillips, Eni, INPEX and CGG, Babcock said.
The Northern Territory government said the time the investment in the new facility was $11 million.