HB Engineering brothers purchase Rocherlea ACL building

BOOST: Twin brothers in business, Martin and Stuart Boyd, have taken over the old ACL plant with HB Engineering. Picture: Neil Richardson
BOOST: Twin brothers in business, Martin and Stuart Boyd, have taken over the old ACL plant with HB Engineering. Picture: Neil Richardson

In an age of a manufacturing downturn and increasing rates of foreign ownership, one Launceston company is bucking the trend.

In a true tale of business drive and resilience, HB Engineering has risen from an at-home garage operation to a profitable and expanding business with dozens of employees.

The company Martin Boyd and his twin brother Stuart started 11 years ago will this year move into the old ACL Bearings workshop at Rocherlea.

With a large workshop and facility, the site has been untouched for about two-and-a-half years since ACL went into receivership.

“We identified it as being for sale so we went and repurchased part of the complex from the ACL people,” Martin said. 

“We got it back into Tasmanian ownership.”

Martin and Stuart are directors of HB Engineering – a steelwork business operating out of Prospect. 

“We’ve just sold our premises here and purchased the ACL building at Rocherlea,” Martin added.

The decision to purchase the larger ACL facility was made after the company witnessed steady work and positive business conditions.

“It’s a good story for Launceston and Tasmania,” Martin said.

“It shows thereTwin brothers Martin and Stuart Boyd have taken over the old ACL plant. Picture Neil Richardson’s development and growth in Launceston.”

The move to Rocherlea will see the company’s working space expand three-fold. 

“For us to require premises like that means we’re going places,” Martin added.

When the company moves into the old building on December 1 it will represent a culmination of 11 years of hard work that began at home.

“We operated from my garage for about 12 months,” Martin said.

It quickly grew to a handful of employees before the twins decided to rent a small shed at Invermay for a couple of years.

Three years later, with the company growing to eight employees, the business-minded brothers purchased property and another business at its existing Prospect workshop.

Eleven years later, between 25 and 40 employees work for HB Engineering.

“That’s all come from a little garage,” Martin nostalgically recalled.

“We’ve definitely had some tough times – there’s been some ups and downs.

“It’s the strength of your business that gets you through.”

He thanked the businesses’ customer base and offered advice for other Tasmanian companies.

”To do a business locally in Launceston you’ve got to do it pretty well,” he said.

“You quickly get a bad name if you’re not up to scratch.”