Around the Globe-Companies

Framatome and Siemens agree on nuclear link

France’s Framatome and Siemens of Germany have announced that they are to merge their nuclear operations in a move that will create the world’s largest nuclear services and construction company. The new joint venture company will have annual sales of euro3.1bn ($3.17bn) and will employ over 13 000 people.

Framatome will take a 66 per cent share in the new company and Siemens a 34 per cent share. The two companies in December signed an agreement that outlined the main activities and operating rules of the joint venture, which could be based in Paris.

The deal is the product of competitive market pressures. Framatome said that there is a strong need to lead the market in terms of size in order to share the burden of research and capital expenditure.

National Power to demerge operations

UK utility National Power plc has announced plans to demerge its operations into two separate businesses and return up to à‚£600m ($973m) to shareholders. The move was widely expected and has increased market speculation of a bid for the struggling company from a large European or US player.

The split will see the company separate its UK energy business, which will be called Npower, from its international operations, to be called International Power. This, together with a share buyback and the sale of two generating plants, will help to realise shareholder value.

The decision to split was taken after a loss of investor confidence as the group struggled in both the domestic and international sectors. Executive chairman Sir John Collins said that the split would allow the two businesses to become highly focussed entities. The aim is for Npower to develop an integrated strategy to gain market share in the retail sector, while International Power will focus on independent power projects.

The demerger and the company’s foothold in the UK and international markets makes the two entities prime targets for takeover. National Power has agreed to sell its Eggborough and Killingholm power plants for over à‚£1bn – a move it is making to take advantage of attractive prices.

Wärtsilä NSD boosts power ventures arm

Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtsilä NSD has launched a new financial services arm that will enable it to offer its customers complete development and financial solutions. The creation of Wärtsilä Development and Financial Services (WDFS) reflects the growing importance of project financing skills in the power plant development market.

WDFS has been created through the merger of two existing subsidiaries – Power Development and Power Finance. It will deliver business solutions to customers through project development and structured financing, and will develop funding vehicles and arrangements that support Wärtsilä’s power plant business.

Capstone signs marketing deals

California-based Capstone Turbine Corporation has signed two strategic marketing deals that will enable it to gain ground in Europe and Asia with its microturbine products. It has signed contracts with both GAS Energietechnik GmbH of Germany and Takuma Company of Japan.

Under a three-year agreement with Capstone, GAS will buy Capstone’s microturbine power generation systems for installation in cogeneration projects, largely in Europe. Capstone’s deal with Takuma is a strategic marketing alliance under which Takuma will market a microturbine cogeneration genset package in Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan and Korea.

GAS will market Capstone’s products in distributed generation applications including small communities and organizations in Germany, Greece, Poland and other European markets. It will also target niche applications, such as landfill gas and biomass projects.

Takuma will package Capstone’s 330 MicroTurbine model into a genset package – the TCP30 – and is aiming to sell around 3000 units per year in the Asia region.

Software solutions

Siemens Power Systems and SunGard Energy Systems have formed a strategic alliance to deliver a portfolio of energy software solutions for trading and risk management. The deal involves the two companies becoming preferred suppliers of each other’s products.

Both of the companies will offer Siemens’ Sinaut Spectrum system as well as SunGard’s risk management and trading products. The combination will cater for applications such as process control, Scada, generation control and scheduling and load management, enabling utilities and energy companies to use advanced simulation tools against physical data for portfolio optimization.

News digest

ABB divests:

ABB has agreed to sell two cable companies in Norway and Sweden to Draka Holding NV, a leading cable manufacturer based in Amsterdam. ABB Kabel in Nàƒ¤ssjàƒ¶ and Ystad and ABB Norsk Kabel of Norway have a combined annual turnover of $210m and employ 850 people. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

BDT buys cooling tower business:

BDT Engineering Corp. has agreed to acquire Ceramic cooling Tower Company (CCT), a division of Baltimore Aircoil Company. CCT develops, designs, manufactures and services cooling towers using pultruded composite fibreglass technology.

Dresser-Rand seeks supplier:

Citing unacceptable price hikes, USA-based Dresser-Rand has terminated its gas turbine and compressor packaging agreement with General Electric. The company is now seeking a replacement supplier and has promised that the agreement cancellation will not affect existing or outstanding contracts.

Eastern name change:

Eastern Group is to change its name to TXU Europe and reorganise its operations in line with the objectives of its US parent, TXU. The UK-based utility and energy company has developed several joint ventures and strategic alliances throughout Europe, mainly in trading operations.

Iveco expands:

In line with its strategy to develop its engine business, Iveco group has signed a deal under which it will take full control of Houvenaghel-Henneguin, a French company that specialises in the design and manufacture of generators. The acquisition will help Iveco develop its portfolio in the rapidly expanding market for power generators. Iveco Aifo will acquire 100 per cent of the shares in Houvenaghel-Henneguin after clearance from French authorities.

Marubeni joint venture:

Japan’s Marubeni Corp. has announced that it is to set up a joint venture with French conglomerate Vivendi to enter the infrastructure business in Japan, undertaking services such as electricity supply, managing water and waste water. The new company, Marubeni Vivendi Environment will be a 50:50 joint venture with a market capitalization of à‚¥10bn ($98m).

National Power-DuPont alliance:

National Power and DuPont have signed a technical collaboration and supply agreement for the supply of membrane products for National Power’s Regenesys electricity storage technology. DuPont will supply 16 000 m2 of its Nafion membrane products to the first utility-scale Regenesys demonstration plant that will be built in the UK in 2000.

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