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Opus Consulting Export Award, Wellington

Hon Jim Sutton Speech Notes

5pm, 30 January 2002

Chairman Basil Logan, Chief executive Kevin Thompson and Opus staff, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here this evening to present Opus International Consultants with a Trade New Zealand Export Award

Opus has won this Export Award for boosting annual exports from $9.5 million in 1999 to almost $29 million last year. This large jump in earnings is largely the result of your winning several long-term road asset management contracts in the UK, Australia and Malaysia. Those long-term contracts have enabled Opus to open permanent offices in those countries and to expand its businesses into other areas.

It's a tremendous achievement and one that both you and New Zealand can be extremely proud of, given the tough competitive international environment you operate in.

With a staff of 1200 around the world - including some 30 offices in New Zealand - Opus is one of New Zealand's largest multi disciplinary consultancies, providing engineering, planning and architecture services.

Opus' international business now accounts for about 25% of annual turnover - achieved by a dedicated team lead by David Bunting in the Wellington office.

A privately owned company, Opus has an interesting history - it evolved out of a State Owned Enterprise which had in turned evolved out of the Ministry of Works & Development - one of the icons of New Zealand Government Departments.

New Zealand is now recognised internationally for its world class expertise in highway and road asset management - being the first country to deregulate this business - and Opus is the New Zealand market leader in this sector.

Your company is successfully leveraging off those two key success factors to build its international business.

Opus is capitalising on a growing awareness around the world of the need for highway authorities to sustain the immense value of their asset by investing in managed maintenance. Your company has targeted markets where maintenance of roading systems is contracted out to the private sector - with its major markets to date being the UK, Malaysia and Australia.

You are about to turn your focus to the United States also, where after years of neglect the Americans look set to invest heavily in a maintenance programme to upgrade their deteriorating highway system.

Given the size of that market, that presents a huge opportunity for Opus and we look forward to following your results in the USA over the next 3-4 years

Opus is also winning large contracts in rail consultancy - just this month, you havesecured a 7-year contract with UK partners to manage the upgrade of stations on the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground

You designed and managed projects on the underground railway system from downtown Hong Kong to the region's new airport

And in New Zealand, you've won the contract to design the underground station for Auckland's high profile Britomart complex

Opus prides itself on being innovative and is continually striving for ways to enhance the delivery of its core services to clients

Your philosophy is that today's innovation is tomorrow's expectation - which is a keen reminder of the need to keep on evolving and improving in order to remain competitive

Opus is a prime example of the knowledge economy in action

You are exporting Kiwi knowledge - winning international work on your excellent credentials as a business savvy, well-managed enterprise with a depth of qualified staff to rival those of larger countries

As well as work in developed countries, such qualities are also winning Opus Asian Development Bank and World Bank contracts to provide road asset management in developing countries

Because of your history from government department through corporatisation and privatisation, those agencies also contract Opus to provide institutional reform advice in tandem with its core services - the icing on the cake for this very smart and successful operator

It now gives me great pleasure to present the Trade New Zealand Export Award to Kevin Thompson, ceo of Opus International Consultants

And a certificate of appreciation to Linda Roony of Opus' International Team in Wellington for her outstanding contribution to the company's export success.

Ends./

Office of Hon Jim Sutton


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