Longworth Air Fitting & ProductsParish Engineering has announced a major expansion of its business with the acquisition of Longworth Engineering, based in Nunawading, Melbourne.

Founded by John Longworth in the 1950s, Longworth specialises in repetition engineering as well as manufacturing air fittings for the truck industry. Parish Engineering established in 1932 and today owned and run by father-and-daughter team Graeme and Nicole Sinclair, Parish manufactures precision components for clients in industries such as automotive, defence, aerospace and mining. For Paul Rafferty, Business Development Manager at Parish, the Longworth takeover makes good business sense.

“With the demise of the automotive industry, we’d been looking at options to expand,” he explains. “I knew John, and a few years ago he mentioned he was looking at getting out of the business. I knew the business would be a good fit, so I had a chat with Graeme and Nicole and said ‘Shall we have a look into it?’ And today, here we are moving everything over.”

The key benefit for Parish will be the opportunity to have its own product line, in the form of Longworth’s extensive range of air fittings. Prior to the takeover, Parish had been largely confined to contract work as a components supplier. This, according to Rafferty, leaves one dependent on customer demand, so having a product line provides a degree of independence and stability.

“Before we relied on everyone else, so you’re at the mercy of what your customers do,” he says. “This gives you a bit more control if you’ve got your own product. For most repetition engineers, that’s their aim, to find their own product they can sell.”

Longworth’s operations will be moved from Nunawading to Parish’s facility in Moorabbin, with Rafferty estimating that the move will be completed by mid-December. The more modern, computerised equipment will be transferred, and though some of the older machines will be scrapped, a few will also be retained to keep up with ongoing demand for Longworth’s products.

“There’s machinery here that Parish scrapped off about two years ago,” says Rafferty. “But because the business is so vast, we want to take that machinery while we’re getting a handle on the volumes. We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and then find we haven’t got the equipment to cope with the volume.”

The plan is for the Longworth brand to continue under Parish’s name, as Longworth Air Fittings. At present the fittings are only sold to customers in Australia, but Rafferty sees considerable potential to market them further, possibly targeting export markets eventually. Indeed, as the purchase of Longworth has progressed, Rafferty has been increasingly impressed by the possibilities the takeover opens up.

“We were pretty well aware of the business and what they did, but actually more so when we got down here and got into the nuts and bolts of it,” he says. “It’s actually a lot bigger and better than I thought. We see the potential for this business to be bigger than Parish. The potential for this business is very good.”