Wagners CEO Cameron Coleman.
Wagners CEO Cameron Coleman. Tom Gillespie

Wagners' US plant expansion on hold amid coronavirus

TOOWOOMBA company Wagners has been forced to delay its plans for a manufacturing plant in the United States, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The publicly-listed business has already shipped machinery over to the US, but is unable to send staff because of the international travel ban.

Company CEO Cameron Coleman said the new American plant to produce composite fibre technology products had been a long-held goal for Wagners.

Wagners CFT launch video: Wagners has opened its fourth CTF machine.
Wagners CFT launch video: Wagners has opened its fourth CTF machine.

"We have to put that on hold until COVID-19 passes - we can't get out of Australia to America," he said.

"We're really just governed by the protocols that have been implemented.

"Our general manager would have been living in the United States by this time, and we would've been almost completed with that new machine, however, the COVID-19 timing has forced us to delay it."

The new pultrusion machine, built for the American plant, has been stored safely until Wagners can progress with the project after COVID-19.

Mr Coleman said the company had been trading steadily in the domestic market despite the economic downturn.

However, he said the shutdown of the aviation sector had increased Wagners' operation costs dramatically.

"The other business is generally stable in the construction materials sector," he said.

"We are faced with increased operational costs due to the need for charter flights, given the reduction in regular passenger flights.

"I would say we're fortunate to be operating industries that can implement systems to maintain stable operations throughout this difficult period.

"We've had to make all sorts of staff adjustments throughout this time.

"We look forward to the restrictions lifting, when they are able to be lifted, and we can continue to execute our international growth plans."