The Otter Story

Otter has been building Australia since 1950, and has entrenched itself as a brand built on a great tradition of vision, hard work and true entrepreneurial spirit. It continues to be the market leader in fasteners. Otter has remained true to its legacy as a champion for high quality and true professional grade fasteners over the last 70 years

Boasting a comprehensive range of fastening solutions that service the wider market, Otter has fasteners to suit any job. Otter product is immediately recognisable by its iconic yellow packaging and signature colour coded merchandising system. Furthermore, the Otter range is proudly backed by a history of market leading innovation and stringent quality control processes.

The Otter brand has been built on a great tradition of vision, hard work and true entrepreneurial spirit. It all began in the early 1950's when John Otter - Jack as he was known - was employed as a sub-contractor on Housing Commission estates in Melbourne. Hammering away each day, Jack dreamt of developing his own manufacturing business, supplying nails and fencing. So he began investigating opportunities for manufacturing and in 1959 Jack purchased a small machine to manufacture Chain-Link fabric and then formally incorporated the first of our companies; Otter Fencing Pty Ltd, was born.

Jack knew he needed a point of difference; so he focussed on offering superior quality and reliability. Not long afterwards, with success in his stride, Jack began the next phase towards manufacturing and bought four nail machines and the second of our companies, Otter Nails Pty Ltd, was established.

For nearly 20 years Otter grew from strength to strength at the factory site in Huntingdale, Melbourne, until a devastating fire gutted the nail warehouse in 1977. Rather than rebuild, Jack decided to relocate to a site on Princes Highway at Clayton, Victoria, in Melbourne’s south east.

Sadly Jack’s health failed and he passed away in 1982, however, he laid a strong foundation for the business, his son Ray Otter, then stepped up as Managing Director to continue Jack’s vision.

In 1987, the Otter entrepreneurial spirit kicked in again and we acquired the nail division of the British United Shoe Machinery Company. This meant we could now offer our customers new specialty nail products. Additional machinery also meant we were able to manufacture non-ferrous nails, enabling us to enter into new markets and provide greater capacity to service the hardware industry.

In 1996, with expansion in our blood, Otter Nails purchased one of our biggest competitors, 'Titan' brand, from BHP Fastener Products Pty Ltd, a division of BHP Limited. Titan had been operating since 1888 and had a strong customer base, including Mitre 10 Group, who were pleased at the seamless transition of service to their group stores.

With the nail market firmly in our grasp, Otter Nails decided to broaden its fastener range and enter the screw industry. In 1999 we acquired an Australian family owned business called Metric Agencies & Industries Pty Ltd which marketed the well-known ScrewFix brand. Having screws in the Otter stable has given us a much wider product platform and strengthened Otter as a major player in the broader ‘fasteners’ market.

In 2004, Otter acquired National Steel Nails from Mayne Industries Pty Ltd, in Queensland. This was a very exciting development as it enabled us to then service the entire Australian Hardware Market with an extensive range of products.

2016 brought further changes with the Otter business being acquired by Airco Fasteners. This acquisition brought about a marriage of two industry stalwarts and a new found pathway towards greater innovation and process improvements.

We have now passed our half a century in business and we’ve travelled a long way, and are happy to report that we’re still delivering the same point of difference that Jack instilled back in 1959: unsurpassed quality and reliability. ‘When quality matters... It’s Gotter be Otter’ From an idea born in the 1950's, today the young Otter has grown into mature, independent, strong and vibrant set of companies.

when quality matters... it's gotter be Otter