Private Matters

Written on the 13 February 2009

Private Matters



CEO: Geoff Grady (pictured)
Established: 1985 (Mulpha since 2002)
Annual sales: $100 million
Staff: 400
THE $2.5 billion Sanctuary Cove has made more than $680 million in residential sales since Mulpha took over in 2002. Sanctuary Cove has sold almost $700M of property since 2002, around $100 million each year – this being both re-sales of existing homes and new product introduced by the developer to meet residential demand. This year will also see Sanctuary Cove team up with the listed Sunland Group to create a prestige housing precinct overlooking new lakes and the two new golf holes on The Palms golf course.
Its anchor event, the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, has cemented its reputation as the largest on-water show in the Asia Pacific. Last year it attracted 455 exhibitors, 50,678 visitors and 127 marine products from all over the world. With more than 220 registered national and international media, it generated more than $4 million in publicity for the Gold Coast as a destination and more than $230 million in marine sales were made as a direct result of the show.
CEO Geoff Grady believes Sanctuary Cove is well placed to ride out further economic uncertainty.
“We believe that while 2009 will show the impact of global economic conditions, underlying demand will continue to be relatively strong compared to the property market generally and this will be reinforced by the major investment activities being undertaken by Mulpha to transform the resort community,” he says.
“There is no doubt that the economic events will have some impact on the volume of sales, however history has shown that Sanctuary Cove is well placed to ride out the uncertainty.
“The investment by Mulpha to transform infrastructure at Sanctuary Cove and the decreasing availability of land; eg waterfront and golf course land particularly, will only add to the demand for the quality and uniqueness of this unique community as it enters the final five years of its development life. The high demand for new tenancies in The Marine Village also gives us the confidence that we are well positioned to overcome any unexpected challenges.”
 Managing Director: Michael Kljaic (pictured)
Established: 1997
Revenue: ’08: $42 million
Forecast growth ’09: Static
Staff: 105
MKM Group managing director Michael Kljaic started his career as a floor and wall tiler after a stint cleaning buses.
 The founder of MKM Group has built the company to become one of the most successful mid-tier developers in southeast Queensland.
The Serbian national employs more than 100 staff across four companies that he has acquired to keep profits under the MKM umbrella.
 “I keep my cards fairly close to my chest with regards to areas of growth that I foresee in the future. Although the most obvious aspect I see affecting people in the slowing economy is not supplying the community with products that is needed,” he says.
“Our economy was never going to sustain the growth that we have witnessed in the past decade, therefore whenever I got the opportunity, I invested in areas that would be needed in a slowing economy, such as affordable housing in more rural areas such as Warwick and Ipswich.
 “Opportunities are presented to all of us, but we must recognise them on time, otherwise it’s like catching a bus – If you are late – the bus is gone.”
Managing Director (Gold Coast) Grant Dearlove (pictured)
Established: May 2006. Colliers International acquired national real estate agency group PRDnationwide.
Staff: 77 (Gold Coast office)
COLLIERS International operates in 267 offices in 57 countries. Services include brokerage, property management, hotel investment sales and consulting, corporate services, valuation, consulting and appraisal services, mortgage banking and research. 
“The Gold Coast property market has not been immune from the economic crisis that has affected the globe,” says acting managing director Grant Dearlove.
“Having said that, Colliers Internationals diversified business model with a focus in consultancy allows the business to continue a growth pattern. This, coupled with Colliers Internationals ownership of the PRDnationwide franchise that was born on the Gold Coast, makes it the most sustainable real estate model in the world.
“As the market improves, along with the amazingly strong fundamentals of the Gold Coast, it is Colliers International’s intention to not just consolidate but to look to grow its property management valuations and residential project marketing divisions. Commercially, the focus will be where it always has been, in the larger transactions.”
CEO: Robin Maini (pictured)
Established: 1991
Revenue ’08: $46M
Forecast Growth ’09: 12%
Total staff (GC): 197
THE developer behind the $1 billion master-planned Emerald Lakes community is realistic about its growth this year after launching the $40 million commercial and retail component of the project last December.
The company has undergone senior management transition with Robin Maini taking over as chief operations officer late last year from Greg Campbell. Maini is confident the company can sell remaining stock in its latest project The French Quarter.
“With the current market, sales are slower than expected, however two projects are completed and over 90 per cent sold and occupied. These are Porto Bellago and Town Centre. Our third project, The French Quarter, is under construction with a completion date of February 2010 with close to 70 per cent of the 109 units already pre-sold,”
says Maini.
“Therefore with fewer than 60 units in total left for sale on site, we are confident that we will have the majority, if not all of our current stock sold by the end of the calendar year. This will lead straight into the commencement of our signature project Porto Grande on the harbour with a total of 230 units, which includes an 11 storey tower overlooking the lakes and the Gold Coast skyline.
“Our buyers have quite a distinctive demographic, and we are seeing increasing numbers of baby boomers and empty nesters being attracted to the everyday lifestyle that Emerald Lakes offers, whilst being situated in the geographic heart of the Gold Coast. There have been retirees, semi-retirees and business owners who have opted to relocate to Emerald Lakes, which shows that it’s not just a property purchase, it’s a whole lifestyle package.”
CEO: Andrew Bell
Established: 1989
Annual sales: $965M
Staff: 220
THE Ray White Group specialises in residential real estate, prestige properties, commercial, industrial, office, project marketing and property management. It’s latest project is the Victoria Towers development Southport.
Ray White Surfers Paradise sells more real estate on the Gold Coast than any other agency and is one of the largest real estate companies in Australia. The Bell brothers started the business in 1989 with a staff of 16 and turned over $40 million in sales that year. Now with 220 staff, the company currently turns over $965 million in sales annually and recently posted strong sales ($31 million) at its annual auction at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.
CEO Andrew Bell believes the Gold Coast could be a beneficiary of increased tourist numbers, as more people holiday at home.
“I believe if the true Aussie spirit surfaces and Australia realises that it is one of the luckiest countries of the world and in one of the best economic positions, that with confidence as consumers we can avoid the worst of the world wide recessionary trends,” he says.
“Population growth is receiving little attention, yet it is building a huge pent-up demand for housing. The three sectors vital to economic recovery – government, business and consumers – are showing some positive signs, and the economy will also be helped by the falling Australian dollar, lower fuel prices and steep cuts in interest rates.”
STM (Strata Title Management Group)
Managing Director: Cameron Davis
Established: 1978
Revenue ’08: $8,067,761
Forecast Growth ’09: $9 million
Staff: 67
“STM plans to grow significantly through organic growth in 2009. STM will be focused on significant business growth through streamlined operational systems and exceptional service. STM has launched a new look and a new focus in 2008 and will continue to build a strong brand and a even stronger service to its clients,” says managing director Cameron Davis
Managing Director: Cameron Davis
Established: 1978
Revenue ’08: $8,067,761
Forecast Growth ’09: $9 million
Staff: 62
“As an industry leader, Vesture will continue to develop its processes and procedures, and establish industry best practice through exception service and operational efficiencies,” says managing director Cameron Davis.
NOTABLE MENTIONS: No Limit, Robina Land Corp, Young Land Corp, No Limit, Delfin Lend Lease
Joint Dealer Principals:
James Frizelle (pictured) and Brett Frizelle
Established: 1985
Turnover ’08: $292M
Forecast Growth ’09: 10%
Staff: 274
JAMES Frizelle has diversified its range to include slick imports such as Volkswagen, Audi, Chrysler and newcomer Skoda.
The second half of 2008 proved to be a challenging time for the automotive industry. The latest V-Facts figures indicate that the Gold Coast automotive industry as a whole was down by 12.9 per cent. However, the marque brands under the James Frizelle’s Automotive Group faired better than the industry averages. Audi were up 33.9 per cent and new comer Skoda was up a massive 533 per cent.
In a declining market, joint principal James Frizelle believes the outlook for the brand is bright, despite predictions of a difficult year ahead with forecasters predicting a decline of 16.6 per cent for the automotive industry.
“In 2009 Mazda, Audi, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Skoda will collectively launch numerous new models, increasing their existing products mixes. These new models have be designed focusing on topical issues such as increased fuel efficiency and are predicted to increase the market share for each of the marquee brands,” he says.
“In the first quarter, Audi will unveil its stunning Audi Q5, baby sister to the successful Audi Q7 SUV. Mazda is set to launch the new Mazda 3 in the second quarter of this year, followed by Volkswagen with the popular Golf and Passat CC. Hyundai will add to the popular i30 family with the introduction of the i20 and i10. The James Frizelle’s Automotive Group is also looking to increase its impressive array of brands, should the opportunity arise and is positioned to have a prosperous 2009.”
NOTABLE MENTIONS: Hinterland Toyota, Grand Motors, Bruce Lynton
Chancellor: Trevor Rowe (pictured)
Established: 1989
Revenue ’08: $135M
Forecast ’09: Enrolments up 17%
Staff: Approx 1000
BOND University is Australia’s leading private, not-for-profit university, offering a personalised academic environment that enables graduates to exceed the outer limits of their potential. Founded in 1989 by disgraced tycoon Alan Bond, the university recently set up a post graduate centre in Sydney in conjunction with developer Mirvac Corporation and United Group to enhance the skills of project managers in private-public partnerships.
Chancellor Trevor Rowe says private education continues to grow with first semester enrolments up 17 per cent on 2008.
“Despite the economy slowing down, people want to pursue education and upgrade their skills, both in the vocational area and the tertiary education area. We are an Australian university based on the Gold Coast but international in our approach with 78 different nationalities,” he says.
Kings Christian College, St Hilda’s Anglican Girls School, Somerset College, All Saints Anglican School, AB Paterson College
Established: 2000
Managing Director: Steve Picton (pictured)
Established: 2000
Revenue ’08: $134M
Forecast growth ’09: 10%
Staff: 119
GOTALK is an Australian owned, fast growing full service telecommunications company with sales in excess of $165 million a year and operations in Australia and New Zealand. The company was established in 2000 and has grown steadily through acquiring other businesses and creating new cutting-edge products. Founder Steve Picton was Queensland’s Technology and Telecommunications Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007.
Picton identifies the last six months of 2008 as having many positive developments including: the launch of several prepaid services including a joint service with Vodafone in New Zealand and a Coles branded phonecard in Australia; the acquisition of the brand’s previously outsourced call centre operation in the Philippines; and a much stronger web presence achieved by the launch of new websites.
“2008 was again one where a significant acquisition took place with World Telecom becoming a subsidiary of Gotalk and building further scale in the prepaid market,” he says.
“(In 2009) we are living in times of economic uncertainty and therefore we will be pushing hard to ensure that we operate competitively in this environment and our significantly lower cost base will allow us to thrive in the demanding market conditions.”
A MAJOR study by The Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council has showed the economic significance of the Australian timeshare industry. The timeshare industry is now pouring more than $120 million into the Gold Coast’s economy each year as it emerges as the fastest-growing segment in Australia’s tourism industry.
That’s among the key findings of the first major study into the economic significance of the $700 million a year Australian timeshare industry. The Economic Significance of the Australian Timeshare Industry report, compiled by the Australian Economic Consultants Group, also highlights the importance of the industry ­— which employs 5900 people at 73 resorts throughout Australia and involves more than 125,000 owners — to the economies of regional areas.
The Gold Coast is the epicentre of the Australian timeshare industry. The region is home to the head offices of Holiday Club, Trendwest, APVC, Classic Holidays, RCI, I.C.E. Asia Pacific and Dial’N’Exchange. On the Gold Coast alone, the industry provides jobs for 2180 people, pays salaries and wages of $86.6 million and provides $127.6 million (or two per cent) of the Coast’s $10 billion gross regional product.
It is estimated that one in every 200 people living on the Coast works in the industry.
CEO: John Osborne
Established: 2000
Turnover ‘08: Undisclosed
Forecast ’09: Undisclosed
Staff: 150,000 (internationally)
Accor recently spent $20 million on 44 apartments at Broadbeach.
It’s portfolio of hotels includes, the Sofitel; Pullman; Novotel; Mercure; Suitehotel; Ibis; All Seasons; Etap Hotel; Formule 1; and Motel 6 brands, representing 4000 hotels and around 500,000 rooms in 90 countries.
According to CEO John Osborne, holiday ownership continues to be a strong and stable component of the region’s tourism economy.
“Ownership is the highest form of loyalty,” he says.
“It is clear our owners are using their scheduled holiday time because they have already paid for their accommodation. When the expense of their stay is pre-paid, it’s easier for them to cover today’s higher airline ticket costs or fuel surcharges and overcome other economic concerns that are currently impeding travel.”
Managing Director : Barry Robinson
Established: 1999
Turnover ’08: $202M
Staff: 1480
Owners: Approx 43,000
AS the region’s leading and largest vacation ownership company, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific is the developer behind the 42,500 plus owner strong WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham. The company operates 19 WorldMark South Pacific Club Resorts; 12 associate resorts and three managed resorts. Total apartments number 660 and there are 13 sales sites in the company’s portfolio.
Barry Robinson has been CEO and managing director of Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific since 2003.
“The global credit crunch will impact all businesses and sectors heavily in 2009. In late 2008, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific restructured its business and resized its operations to be within available medium-term funding forecasts,” he says.
 “In 2009, the company will shift its primary focus from overall growth to business segments that carry the highest margins and generate the strongest cash flows. Demand for timeshare remains strong.”
Managing Director (Pacific Region): Charisse Cox
Established: 1974
Staff: 110 (GC)
RCI is the largest holiday exchange company in the world, and leading rental distribution company. It started with 450 member families serviced from the home of Jon and Christel DeHaan. 
Today RCI has more than of 3.7 million member families and 4889 affiliated resorts serviced from 70 offices around the globe.
Managing director (pacific region) Charisse Cox is positive that the company’s strong membership will continue to keep the company resilient.
“We are all very excited about 2009 and the opportunities it presents. We are well positioned to continue to grow our member base and member utilisation of our products. Holiday exchange is very resilient in times of economic uncertainty, as members have in essence already ‘pre-purchased’ their holiday, in addition to the fact that exchange holidays are much more affordable than traditional holidays,” says Cox.
“We look forward to working with developers in helping them to provide a fantastic value add to their product that is extremely important to prospective purchasers, increase their marketing exposure, and definitely set them apart from the competition in this tough and highly competitive economic environment.
“We also look forward to continuing to fulfil members’ dreams by sending them on a myriad of amazing holidays providing truly memorable experiences.”
Managing Director: Steve Howard (pictured)
Readership: 169,000
Staff: 450
THE Gold Coast Bulletin is the only daily newspaper specifically serving this booming region and is the second largest daily newspaper in Queensland.
The Weekend Bulletin is Australia’s second largest regional newspaper with an average circulation figure of 69,217 copies and an average weekly readership of 169,000.
Managing director Steve Howard concedes staggered growth ahead and will bank on variables such as population growth and the re-emergence of the property market to insulate against further downturn.
“We face challenging times in this global economic contraction and our growth will not be as strong as what we have experienced in recent times,” he says.
“However, we are in a far greater position than some of our competitors as research shows that both readers and advertisers are more likely to use ‘trusted’ and ‘credible’ brands during periods of economic uncertainty, which is positive news for our own brands.
“We are in good shape – and we want to stay that way.
“Aside from the obvious population growth and the significant growth of the local property market, more major brands are establishing a real presence (some with their head office) in the southeast Queensland region, particularly in the growth corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“Organisations are now recognising the importance of having a presence within this booming region.”
Chairman: Terry Morris
Established: 1972
Revenue ’08: $20M+
Forecast growth ’09: Static or slight decline
Staff: 300
THE Morris Group of companies includes Morris International (data processing, mail management, property); Sirromet Wines at Mount Cotton; the Holden Performance Driving Centre; Carrara Markets on the Gold Coast and Sackville Academy.
Chairman Terry Morris is optimistic his group of companies can weather the storm, despite interest rate and inflation pressures affecting the property market and consumer spend in the wine industry.
“With the global credit crunch impacting on confidence, business needs to get back to basics concentrate on service and providing value for money. More than ever the customer is king. Australia’s population will continue to grow, so the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter will have natural growth and this is good for the Gold Coast,” he says.
“(However) local and state governments need to realise that they are in the service business, not in the obstruction and delaying business and they have a serious fiduciary obligation to provide value for the taxes and charges they collect.”
Managing Directors: Tom Quinn and John Heron      
Established: 1994
Revenue ’08: N/A
09’ forecast growth: 15-20 per cent
Staff: 20
OZKLEEN is a 100 per cent owned and operated Australian company, based in Ormeau, that exports around the world. OzKleen has Australia’s premier eco-friendly cleaning range, containing no chlorine, ammonia or phosphates.
With its Australian-made range of home cleaning products available in New Zealand, the UK and France, managing director Tom Quinn is expanding the brand into Europe and growing Asian markets.
The cleaning company has also installed a rainwater system and is now harvesting rainwater to use in all products and its own cleaning purposes.
Quinn says that while the cleaning category in supermarkets is down by 30 per cent, OzKleen products have held their own ground and even experienced growth in some areas with its Shower Power and Carpet Power brands.
“With any challenge comes opportunity. While we are based on the Gold Coast, we are also part of the global market,” he says.
“The current economic environment has provided the impetus for us to look at what we’ve been doing and evaluate ways to improve.
“One of the first measures we’ve taken is to explore ways in which we could make our business more environmentally friendly. We’ve installed a rainwater system and are now harvesting rainwater to use in our products and for our own cleaning purposes. We’ve also switched to energy-saving lighting throughout our manufacturing facility in Ormeau. These steps have resulted in cost savings of up to 30 per cent in some areas.
“Other steps we’ve taken to ‘fire-proof’ ourselves have been to broaden our consumer offering and expand into new export markets in the Asia Pacific region, including Taiwan, Thailand, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea to name a few.
“The Australian market has always been our rock and has provided us with the strength to move into other markets. Gold Coasters have always been particularly loyal to its home-grown OzKleen brand especially Shower Power, which is our flagship product.
“I think Australians genuinely like to support Australian businesses. Buying Australian is the best way to keep profit in Australia and protect Australia’s economy.”
Joint CEOs: Tony and Christina Quinn
Established: 1992
Revenue ’08: $100M +
Forecast Growth ’09: 11.8%
Total staff: 300
AT a time when the spotlight is on the unregulated pet food industry with reports that some imported pet foods are contaminated, Yatala-based VIP Petfoods has created a niche Australian made product that is satisfying the nation’s $2 billion a year industry.
The company is completing a major expansion of its national head office and manufacturing facility at Yatala with more than $10 million being spent on the upgrade.
Ask motor racing investor and VIP Petfoods boss Tony Quinn what makes a successful retail brand and he will tell you that consumers are looking for products that represent quality and more importantly value in the current economic climate.
“VIP Petfoods are fortunate that our innovative manufacturing process and a number of product innovations over the last decade, have resulted in a consistently high quality product offering at the supermarket shelf,” he says.
“We believe that every cloud has a silver lining and the quality labour supply issues that manufacturers in this region have faced over the last two to years may improve with the general economic slowdown.
“We have managed to drive the business in a direction the global pet food industry now seeks to fulfil in relation to providing pets with all-natural, fresh and healthy meal solutions. (This) has established the company as a credible player on a global level and given the business a chance to grow in other overseas markets.”
CEO: Ian Johnston
Year established: 1843
Turnover ’08: $4.3 billion
Total staff: 450 (7000 internationally)
BRINGING together a wealth of history, Foster’s Group is the union of some of the world’s best-loved premium beverage companies.
CUB’s parent company Fosters’ half year result is due out on February 17 and is expected to show a writedown of $700 million in its wine operations.
Last September, CUB appointed Ian Johnston as its CEO. He has extensive experience in the international food and beverage industry with Unilever in Australia, Canada and Europe and Cadbury Schweppes in Australia and the UK.
Since leaving Cadbury Schweppes, Johnston has advised a broad group of private companies and was briefly a non-executive director of Coles Group Limited in 2001. 
“With a portfolio of more than 200 premium brands, operations on five continents and a history stretching back over 60 years, we’ve built a great Australian drinks business.
“We are predicting a strong year for our beer, wine and spirits brands in Queensland and our brewery at Yatala should continue to be Australia’s biggest and best. After 20 years at Yatala, we now employ over 300 Queenslanders on site and around another 150 in sales and marketing around the state.”
Managing director: Paul Phelan (pictured)
Established: 1987
Staff: 200
TELWATER is Australia’s leading and largest manufacturer of aluminium boat and trailer packages, producing more than 10,000 boats a year under key brands Quintrex, Stacer and Savage.
It exports Australian-made products to more than 20 countries and has been proactive in international markets for two decades.
The company has 195 dealerships Australia and world wide with Sweden, Seychelles and Greece the latest to sign the brand.
Managing director Paul Phelan will concentrate on pushing the brand into further European outlets following the company’s success in Sweden.
“Like most we have had a flat 2008-09 season with a downturn of 25 to 30 per cent, traditionally after a flat season the next is up,” he says.
“We foresee a good 2009-10 season, and have embraced the opportunities of this year such as including Savage to our quality boat brands.”
Joint Managing Directors: Jeff Leigh-Smith and Patrick Gay
Established: 2000
Growth ’08: 8%
Forecast Growth ’09: 8-10%
Staff: 35 full time (500 + contractors and consultants)
DEVELOPED by Gay Constructions in 2000, the cornerstone and heart of the largest marine precinct in the southern hemisphere, Gold Coast City Marina Shipyard is home to a plethora of new and expanding businesses servicing the marine industry.
Co-founder Jeff Leigh-Smith is an ardent believer in positive business sentiment and attributes much of the current negativity to rampant sensationalism.
“The biggest problem is that around 15 per cent of people are having a hard time, which means there is still 85 per cent who are going about their business. We need to be more positive and encourage that 85 per cent to keep spending. If you want to buy a new house or a boat and you have the money, buy it,” he says.
“This is my 45th year in business and we have seen the economy fluctuate and bounce back. Whenever there has been a famine in the commercial markets we have survived. I remember in the 1970s, I would wait for three days before someone would come in looking to buy a boat. Now if I go three minutes before someone comes through the gate, I get nervous.”
CEO: Bill Barry-Cotter (pictured)
Established: 2002
Turnover ’08: $130 million
Total staff: 350
BOAT builder Maritimo continues to defy the economic downturn with the appointment of its first Singapore dealership.
With plans also underway to build a 200-berth marina on an 32.3ha parcel at the Gold Coast Marine facility, CEO Bill Barry-Cotter is upbeat about the future.
“We are investing more than $10 million into new product development and expect the Australian market to show improvement by mid 2009.
“I’m not suggesting what we’re going through is any false alarm situation, things are indeed tight, but we shall survive.”
WHAT ABOUT RIVIERA? We’re not sure what’s happening over at Riviera. But following more mass sackings, the company recently cut loose its high profile PR firm and under the stewardship of new CEO John Anderson, will look to bolster its balance sheet after a disastrous 2008 - anchored down by flailing exports. Former CEO Wes Moxey resigned in 2008 to pursue other interests.
General Manager: Rob Smith
Established: 1956
Turnover ’08: $71M
Forecast growth ‘09: 1%
Staff: 429
THE Gold Coast’s largest privately owned club has launched into 2009 with plans for a $33 million expansion to include the redevelopment of bars and food area, cinemas and convention rooms.
Re-development plans are also afoot for the Twin Towns Juniors property to the tune of $7 million with Tweed Shire Council expected to approve the upgrade later this year, while strategic planning is underway for the Club Banora property – the first redevelopment in 27 years of operation.
General manager Rob Smith expects 2009 to be a difficult year in terms of customer sentiment, but says that the club is well placed to address this period with significant cash reserves and zero debt exposure.
“Our core products are discretionary and much of our client base will be affected by the global conditions,” he says.
“The southern GC has always performed well in terms resilience and whilst we might not have the highs of the highs we also do not expect any dip to be prolonged or deep.
“The hospitality industry, and in particular gaming, has been adversely affected by smoking bans and regulatory changes in recent years.
“This has resulted in the business being tuned to meet the challenges of the year ahead. By this I mean we have enjoyed the highs of the last few years and the business is geared for a more modest level of income.
“Above all, we are an escape. Our business is about making sure you leave the worries of the world behind when you come through the doors. No better place to ride out a turbulent financial period on both sides of the counter.”
General Manager: Adrienne Readings
Established: 2004
Turnover ’08: Undisclosed
Forecast growth ‘09: Flat
Staff: 247 
THE GCEC is staring to hit its straps after various management transitions.
Now home to Gold Coast NBL franchise The Blaze, the Coast’s largest conference and major events venue will target national business conferencing markets in 2009 to help offset diminishing corporate tourism.
The centre’s $40 million extension is complete. After more than 124,000 man hours, 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 375 tonnes of structural steel and 7000 litres of paint, Australia’s largest regional convention centre can now boast an extra two exhibition halls, a registration office, three meeting rooms and three new kitchens. 
General manager Adrienne Readings says the Gold Coast’s attraction as a multi-purpose destination will continue to be a drawcard for the centre’s world class facilities.
“It has been a challenging financial year with the current economic climate and whilst we have seen some dilution in convention numbers (around 20 per cent dilution across the board), some other states are experiencing a much larger wash in numbers,” she says.
“The Gold Coast is still seen as a great value destination where people can bring their partners and family and have a pre or post holiday at the same time.
“So the numbers in the association conventions are holding their own. National business has been our core market for the past five years and will remain so going forward.”
Managing Director: Dean Bowtell
Established: 1961
Turnover ’08: Approx $30M
Growth Forecast ’09: Moderate
Staff: 220
BOASTING 45,000 members, Southport Sharks will this year undertake expansion plans to increase capacity to its parking and dining precincts as well as internal refurbishments.
The club’s involvement in the Gold Coast’s AFL licence bid is also expected to present a number of exciting opportunities. According to CEO Dean Bowtell, the next 12-18 months will be ‘extremely fragile’.
He says in the short term, public confidence will determine the performance of businesses, while the first six months will provide a clearer picture in terms of consumer spend for 2009.
“Even though Australia seems to be performing comparatively well against other economies - how far we have to go before the downturn bottoms out, remains to be seen,” he says.
“Hopefully the tourist sector will also help to insulate our local economy with interstate visitors seeing the Gold Coast as a great value destination - same for international visitors if the Australian dollar remains low.”
 CEO: Cameron Levick (pictured)
Established: 1996 (first raced 1997)
Turnover ’08: $250M (all entitities)
Forecast Growth ’09: 15-20%
Total staff: 55 full time (400+ major event)
WITH a fresh CEO in Cameron Levick and new purpose-built headquarters at Nerang, the organisation is powering the sport toward unprecedented popularity.
The Gold Coast is home to six V8 Supercar teams and the headquarters of V8 Supercars Australia. A Queensland Government-led impact study in 2006 revealed that at the time the V8 Supercar industry, outside of the Gold Coast Indy 300 and Queensland 400, generated more than $70 million for the southeast Queensland economy, making it the largest single sporting entity in the state, and sustained more than 625 fulltime jobs.”
Levick anticipates a grid full of challenges ahead, but with solid corporate backing and key marketing strategies locked in, he is certain the accelerator will be to the metal again this year.
“Commercially there are many challenges from a national and global perspective. V8 Supercars has remained reasonably isolated through long-term sponsorship, media and event contracts although the current market will have some impact either directly or indirectly,” he says.
“V8 Supercars remains a growth sport and business with plans to further expand the company with more national and international events as well as to continue to challenge Australia’s leading sports for market share.”
Managing director: David Chester
Established: 1985
Total sales ’08: $221M
Total sales ’09: Approx. $83M
Staff: 53
SINCE Gerry Harvey, John Singleton and Robert Ferguson bought the Gold Coast’s Magic Millions in 1997, the carnival has gained momentum both in Australia and overseas.
Despite a 160 per cent drop in sales this year, managing director David Chester believes the Magic Millions Carnival will remain the Gold Coast’s prime racing event. The event is held annually in January over 19 days.
The 2008 Premier of Queensland’s Export Award winner is Australia’s premium thoroughbred horse auctioneering, sales and events hosting company, achieving $40 million in export sales in 2007-08.
The company conducts more than 20 auctions each year both in Australia and overseas, but is best known for its annual events, the Conrad Jupiters Magic Millions Sales and racing carnival held in January, and the Magic Millions National Sales each June. Both events attract thousands of people to the Gold Coast
“The Magic Millions sales to date in 2009 have performed far better than initially forecast (with only a 15% decrease in the feature Sessions 1 – 4 of the January sale) and the outlook for the remainder of the sales for the season is promising,” says Chester
“We expect only a 20 per cent downturn across our sales throughout Australia, and don’t expect the international and national buyer number to decrease ­— particularly for our major sales on the Gold Coast in June and October”.
Bid team formed: 1999
First match: 2007
Managing Director: Michael Searle
Turnover ’08: Approx. $22M
Forecast Growth ’09: NIL - revised down from 7% in September 2008
Total staff: 200 + (staff and players)
BACK in March 1999, the Gold Coast bid team was formed with Michael Searle perched on the cusp of a dream to bring world-class rugby league to the Gold Coast.
Chaired by rugby league heavyweight Paul Broughton, the bid team was consistently active in lobbying the NRL to both expand the competition and consider the Gold Coast’s bid for inclusion. Fast forward 10 years and the Jetstar Titans are here to stay.
Last year, the club trimmed operating costs by $1.8 million by improving efficiencies in its operating model and reduced upfront costs associated with the move to Skilled Park.
Titans boss Searle says efficiencies will also be obtained at the Titans Centre of Excellence in communication and transport costs with the consolidation of three sites integrating into one. The successful accountant and former player is optimistic that the structure of the club will prevail during economic uncertainty due to its strong membership base, elite squad and corporate sponsorship.
He says 2009-10 growth forecasts were seven per cent before the recent global financial crisis and have been revised to a neutral position.
“Challenges will exist in membership and hospitality sales but sponsorship sales have remained buoyant. Hospitality options at our home games will be available in season 2009 as the property and finance sector tightens belt. This has lead to a churn in corporate boxes and suites at Skilled Park,” he says.
“2010-11 growth forecasts have been revised to seven per cent as the market bounces back and sponsorship renewals are extended given strong the branding position the Titans has as a product.”
CEO: Kenton Campbell (pictured)
Established: 1996
Turnover ’08: $21M
Forecast Growth ’09: 25%
Staff: 50 (full time) – 150 (part time)
MORE than a decade after starting in a backstreet at Southport funded by a $9000 personal loan — Kenton Campbell, alongside wife Rachael, has built a coffee empire and sustained growth in Australia’s competitive cappuccino market.
The specialty coffee retailer, wholesaler, roaster and franchiser has grown its revenue by almost 60 per cent and is on target to turnover close to $30 million in the 2009 FY. Campbell was the inaugural 2007 Gold Coast Business News Young Entrepreneur of the Year, while Zarraffas took out its second consecutive Gold Coast Business Excellence Award in 2008.
The ardent wildlife warrior has teamed up with Bob Irwin on a wildllife crusade to protect Australia’s diminishing koala, wombat and crocodile habitats. He says the success of any business attributes directly to the staff within that business.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link and for that reason we devote more time and energy towards employee relations than large profits as there will always be a correlation between the two anyway,” he says. 
“In these difficult times, I believe that the key to maintaining success in 2009 will be to ensure consistency through the empowerment of our employees and franchisees to continually deliver a high level of service and productivity for the brand.”
Espresso Essential
CEO: Mike Coolen
Revenue ‘08: $15.2M
Growth 74%
Outlets: 32
Managing director: Aaron Lavell (pictured)
Revenue ’08: $9.5 million
Forecast Growth 2009: 5%
Staff: 71
WMS was named in BRW’s 2007 Top 100 Accounting Firms Survey, which listed the firm as the nation’s 58th largest and the ninth largest regional.
The firm is in the process of joining the International Accounting Group (TIAG) alliance which has a presence in more than 55 countries and works on a one firm per state model in Australia.
“No doubt 2009 will present many challenges. In reality, it is probably the first time since 1991 that many firm’s billings will reduce. A passive approach to practice management will not be sufficient in our view,” says managing director Aaron Lavell.
Managing partner: Alan Mitrovich
Established: 1999
Revenue ’08: $11 million
Forecast growth ’09: slow to moderate
Staff: 90
PKF Gold Coast is part of PKF Australia – a second tier accounting practice that ranks strongly in the top 10 accounting practices in Australia. The company is part of the PKF International network that is represented by more than 300 offices in more than 120 countries.
One of the largest firms of chartered accountants and business advisers on the Gold Coast, its two offices are located in Southport and Surfers Paradise.
Managing partner Alan Mitrovich has been a non-executive director of a large listed financial services group with assets under management totalling $10 billion and chairman of the board of directors of a large computer services group of companies.
He says the practice will continue to look for strategic joint ventures – particularly those that will assist with the growth of its financial services arm.
“We are anticipating a difficult 2009. During the year all businesses will have to be well managed and flexible enough to adapt to continually changing circumstances

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