Client Success Story
How De Stefano & Co helped a small Australian business secure their future in valve manufacturing
Promet Valves Australia has been supplying specialist valves to the maritime and civil sectors for near on 20 years, offering high quality bronze valves to local and overseas markets.
In partnership with its Australian supply chain of Australian owned and operated businesses, Promet utilises skilled craftsmen in the fields of pattern making, casting and machining, thus providing their customers with the best value for money and the fastest possible delivery.
Depending on the type of valve the customer was looking for, Promet’s Managing Director Zak Ilicic would often have to direct them to overseas suppliers, despite the company’s goal to source valves locally. So when a rare opportunity came up for Zak to acquire an inventory of valve casting mould patterns at a heavily discounted rate, he knew he had to seize it.
The seller’s business model had changed significantly, creating an urgent need to move the valve patterns on as soon as possible. In order to meet the seller’s strict deadline, immediate funding was required to finance the transaction, otherwise the valve patterns were likely to be lost to an overseas buyer. Originally worth over three million dollars, the significance of these valve patterns meant that the capability to supply critical valves to the Royal Australian Navy could happen right here in Australia.
Zak met Emilio De Stefano through his work with the Valve Alliance, and spoke to him about the problem. Emilio encouraged Zak to consider applying for a Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) Grant in order to support the procurement.
SICP Grants provide eligible Australian SMEs with up to $1 million in grant funding for projects that align with Defence’s priority sovereign industrial capabilities. This includes funding for things like capital equipment, facility upgrades, cyber security, etc. In Zak’s case, a successful application would give Promet the necessary financial assistance required to expedite the transaction and get the valuable valve patterns into Australian hands.
Being a small business, Zak didn’t have the resources or experience needed to apply for the grant, so he enlisted the help of De Stefano & Co.
"De Stefano & Co took the time to develop a good understanding of my business and my strategy. I needed someone I could trust; someone who knew the defence industry, knew the scenario and could respond before the opportunity disappeared."
Understanding the urgency of the problem, and the potential these valve patterns had to contribute to a significant sovereign industrial capability need in Australia, Emilio mobilised his team. Himself and Senior Associate Leigh Whicker applied their extensive knowledge of the defence sector and grant writing process to the application, and were successful in obtaining the grant on behalf of Promet.
"I needed someone I could trust; someone who knew the defence industry, knew the scenario and could respond before the opportunity disappeared."
Thanks to the procurement of the valve patterns made possible by the SICP Grant, Promet now has a much larger range of valves, as well as the capability to produce thousands more locally. This is fantastic news for the small Australian business, for Australian manufacturing and for Defence.
With some valves previously only available from places like Germany and Turkey, Promet has already received orders from a large defence prime to supply product to the Philippines and Vietnam.
"There is so much more that I want to do and with the help of De Stefano & Co and the SICP Grant, I have taken a big step closer."
Whilst the future is looking positive for Promet, it’s not without its challenges, with Zak keen to develop a full
in-house manufacturing capability at Promet.
"There is so much more that I want to do and with the help of De Stefano & Co and the SICP Grant, I have taken a big step closer. With only a handful of foundries left, and a critical skills shortage in machining, I need to set up a foundry, and address the skills shortage to have a full
in-house manufacturing capability at Promet. The next
phase will be to re-engineer European products here, eliminating the need for overseas imports altogether."
Promet’s Managing Director Zak Ilicic with one of the valve casting mould patterns.
To find out more about Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) Grants, click here.
If you’d like to talk to us about supporting your business in accessing a grant, please complete the form below, providing as much detail as possible about the grant program and your business need: