LIGHTNING GROWTH FOR PENRITE
Lightning Products has sold the Lightning brand of specialised cleaners to the Penrite Oil Company
Lightning’s marketing manager, Kerrie Goodall, said she was delighted the brand had moved from one family-owned Australian business to another.
“Other companies had looked at Lightning in the past, but we wouldn’t sell to anybody that wasn’t Australian,” Kerrie said.
“The fit was good because like Lightning, Penrite is a proud Australian family business and we know they can do a good job with taking the Lightning brand forward.”
The company was originally founded in the mid-1930s by Charles Goodall, who was involved in the research and distillation of eucalyptus oil. He then bought a small factory in Fitzroy that made a brand of soap called Red Star.
The business was registered as the Chemical Refining Company in the 1940s, still making the Red Star soap and distilling eucalyptus oil.
In the early 1970s, Charles’ son Leigh, an industrial chemist, acquired a brand of hand cleaner called Lightning. Leigh further developed products for the company over the next 50-odd years by utilising natural raw materials and in the 1980s, added the distillation of orange peel oil to the company’s expertise.
In the early 1990s, Leigh’s daughter Kerrie joined the company with a focus on strengthening the company’s brands and distribution.
Despite decades of success, Kerrie said it was time to “pass the baton onto someone else.”
“My dad is 73 and he still has a lot of passion for his business, as I do, but we also have our limitations and if the brand is going to grow it needs a company with substantially bigger resources than ours,” Kerrie said.
“We have a lot of depth in getting product to market with manufacturing and logistics but investing in sales reps was very difficult for us.
“I can’t tell you how many trade shows and field days I’ve done to build up the business and while we think that we have done a pretty good job, moving forward somebody else is going to do a better job with the resources of a company like Penrite.
“Field representation and ‘marketing might’ is something Penrite has in spades.”
Kerrie said the two companies had been talking for some eight months before the deal was concluded.
“We had discussions with the guys, my father had known the Dymond family through motorsport for decades prior. Dad caught up with Toby (Dymond) and re-opened discussions,” Kerrie said.
“It was a good fit, they are passionate about Australian made and owned and we are too; I really don’t think Dad would have sold it to anybody else.
“Penrite will do a good job. It’s bitter-sweet but I think it is more exciting than anything else. It’s a great fit.
“They are in love with the Lightning brand. Like Penrite, it has got a lot of brand heritage that has evolved over decades.
“Penrite has been around a lot longer than the Lightning brand but nonetheless 50 years for any brand in Australia is substantial.”
While best known for hand cleaner, the Lightning portfolio contains several products, including a multi-purpose cleaner/stain remover called Solvit Organic Citrus Clean, and a ready-to-use multipurpose cleaner and degreaser marketed as Tuff Auto and Outdoor Cleaner Degreaser.
The company will also provide support to Penrite during the transition.
“The Dymond Family and the entire team here at Penrite Oil are excited about the acquisition,” Penrite Sales Manager for Australia and New Zealand, John Firth, said.
“Lightning’s Portfolio of products only strengthen our offer to the market and is a true extension to our vast range of Lubricants, Coolants, Greases and specialty automotive aftermarket products.
“For me, the opportunities are endless, we have the best sales team in the industry backed by the best distribution across some 20+ warehouse throughout Australia and New Zealand.
“With 40+ field sales representatives now promoting and selling Lightning products, the future looks bright!”
Penrite’s ongoing investment into Australian manufacturing is further reinforced through the acquisition of Lightning Products.
“We’re proud to include this Australian success story as part of the Penrite Oil brand and have every confidence in developing the Lightning range,” John said.
“These products complement our extensive range, providing retail and trade consumers with a diverse collection of environmentally friendly, locally produced cleaners and degreasers.
“The alignment of Lightning and Penrite provides the framework for enormous opportunity within both brands, which is incredibly exciting for all involved.”
For more information, visit www.penriteoil.com.au