Broadspectrum was founded in Australia in 1956 by an Italian-born electrical engineer, Franco Belgiorno-Nettis. He called his company Transfield Services and was joined by former colleague from Electric Power Transmission (a power line engineer), Carlo Salteri.
Transfield Services’ logo – designed by Belgiorno-Nettis – reflected its electrical industry origins. It represented a high-voltage transmission tower with an accompanying red electrical spark.
Together, Salteri and Belgiorno-Nettis built Transfield into one of Australia's most successful companies and focused on major engineering projects such as bridges, tunnels, dams, hydro-electric and coal power stations, oil rigs, concert halls, sugar mills and power lines. Included in our list of achievements is constructing the Gateway Bridge in Brisbane and working on the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.
By the early 1980s, we employed more than 3,000 people and had an annual turnover of $350 million. We were known as the biggest engineering firm in south-east Asia. Broadspectrum (née Transfield) was so well known that Pope John Paul II toured our factory in Seven Hills, NSW when visiting Australia in 1986.
We added to our vast capabilities in the late 1980s by establishing a naval shipbuilding arm in Australia. Amongst our first projects was the construction of two FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy. We acquired the Williamstown Dockyard in Melbourne and, in 1989 won the $6 billion contract to build 10 ANZAC class frigates for the Australian and New Zealand governments – the largest defence contract in Australia at the time.
Also in 1989, Salteri and Belgiorno-Nettis stood down as joint managing directors of Transfield Holdings in favour of their eldest sons, Paul Salteri and Marco Belgiorno-Zegna.
In 1995, the Salteri and Belgiorno-Nettis families evenly divided the company (valued at $733.2 million), with the Belgiorno-Nettis family keeping the Transfield name, having earlier established Transfield Holdings’ Operations and Maintenance division in 1993 at Mobil Altona in Victoria.
In 2015, the company was rebranded to Broadspectrum.
Ferrovial’s acquisition in 2016 was closely followed by Broadspectrum’s ASX delisting after 15 years as a publicly listed company.