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Business Leaders of the year: John Hirst

CEO of Nuplex Industries

John Hirst, group managing director of Auckland-based multi-national Nuplex Industries, oversaw a year in which the resins manufacturer broke through the billion-dollar revenue mark for the first time.

Net profit also leapt 87 per cent to $62 million in the year ending June after a full year's contribution from Netherlands-based Coatings Resins, which was bought from Akzo Nobel in 2005 for about €110 million ($19.2 million) - a deal which took Hirst 18 months to land.

Consolidation and a mature market in Australasia had been restricting growth and concentrating development within Nuplex - bringing a risk of stagnation.

Hirst's purchase of Coatings Resins brought research and ideas to Nuplex, plus access to key European and US markets and expansion in Asia.

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