SPL announces alliance with CGE&Y Group

SPL WorldGroup, the customer management solutions specialists operating in the global energy industry, has entered into a strategic alliance with the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Group (CGE&Y), one of the world’s largest management and IT consulting firms.

Under the terms of the agreement, CGE&Y will add SPL’s customer management solution, CorDaptix, to its industry solution portfolio for the utility “SPL and CGE&Y are working together to provide strategic solutions capable of adapting to fluctuating market demands,” said a CGE&Y spokesperson. “The alliance will allow CGE&Y to further enhance its ability to get an implementation up and running very quickly, improving our clients’ time to market and return on investment.”

ABB advances business restructuring plans

Troubled Swiss/Swedish engineering conglomerate ABB has announced plans to further shrink its business by announcing it intends to sell its low margin building systems operation which accounts for more than ten per cent of revenues. ABB is already in advance negotiations to sell its structured finance division, with GE Capital and Siemens rumoured to be interested.

The restructuring is part of ABB’s programme of debt reduction in which it is committed to cutting its $4.1bn debt by at least $1.5bn. ABB cut 2200 jobs through natural attrition during the first quarter of 2002 and announced a plan to combine most industry customers into one division.

ABB announced better-than-expected first quarter results with income of $114m, down from $138m in the same period last year. Four divisions increased orders in local currencies, compared to the previous quarter, with the Power Technology Products division leading the way with a 21 per cent improvement. “We see some favourable early signs in order development, notably in the Power and Automation Technology Products divisions,” said Jörgen Centerman, ABB president and CEO.

Caterpillar expands FuelCell Energy module distribution deal

Caterpillar Inc. and FuelCell Energy, Inc. have formalized and expanded their agreement to distribute and develop ultra-low emission Direct FuelCell power generation products for industrial and commercial use. Under the ten-year alliance agreement, customers will now be able to buy the systems from Caterpillar dealers in selected regions in North America.

The agreement, which was signed late April, strengthens a relationship first established in November 2001 and calls for the companies to jointly develop Caterpillar-branded power plants in the 250 kW to 3 MW range, incorporating FuelCell Energy’s fuel cell module.

The companies also plan to explore the development of a hybrid power system utilizing Caterpillar’s turbine engine technology and FuelCell Energy products.

“Caterpillar’s confidence in our technology further validates the inherent value of fuel cells as an important power generation solution,” said Jerry Leitman, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy, Inc.

PB agrees deal with Kopec

PB Power, the power division of Parsons Brinckerhoff, has formed a strategic alliance with Korea Power Engineering Co. (Kopec) to co-operate in the design, engineering and construction of supercritical coal fired power plants in the US and other selected countries.

In a statement, PB Power said that both companies would benefit from the alliance by being able to offer a competitive advantage on certain types of projects. “Many of our clients are actively seeking alternatives to gas fired projects and this will provide a proven reference plant approach,” said Joel Bennett, chairman of PB Power.

PB Power ranks among the top ten power engineering companies in the world with expertise in design, engineering, project management, procurement and construction.

ScottishPower begins recovery

ScottishPower highlighted an improving second half performance as pointing the way to a recovery following the announcement of a pretax profit of £567m ($827m) before exceptional items of £1.3bn.

ScottishPower’s pioneering foray into the US market through the purchase of PacifiCorp proved disastrous with the west coast utility suffering substantial losses arising from the Californian crisis.

News digest

Enron accounting: Enron has blamed false accounting by previous management for overstating the company’s assets by $14bn. A restatement of financial information for the last year-end would require a $14bn write down much of which is the result of Enron’s chapter 11 filing. A “material proportion”, however, relates to overstated values from accounting errors and irregularities, added the company.

Fortum reorganises: Fortum has launched a new Pan-Nordic business approach for its power and heat operations and has appointed new business unit heads based both in Finland and Sweden. Fortum increased operating profits by seven per cent in the first quarter to €327m ($300m).

Fluor reports: US Engineering contractor Fluor Corporation reported first quarter earnings from continuing operations up 11 per cent to $36.2m, in line with the company’s expectations. New project awards in the quarter were $2.6bn, compared with $2.5bn last year. While new power projects were a strong contributor, the company warns of a slowdown in the second quarter.

Innogy JV: Innogy has joined forces with MJB International of the United Arab Emirates to form a new business to be called Power Developments International FZCO. The company will offer turnkey energy solutions and will be based in Dubai.

Mirant loss: Mirant reported a loss for its first quarter of $42m which it attributed to after-tax restructuring costs of $344m. The results included $167m from the sale of Bewag. Despite record sales volumes, lower power and gas prices resulted in US operations contributing $77m, down from $174m.

Sulzer sells: Sulzer Hexis has secured orders for 370 of its pre-series HXS 1000 Premiere fuel cell systems by the end of March 2002, compared with its target of 400 sales by 2003. Most distribution contracts are with German utilities with E.ON, Thyssengas and VNG recently accounting for 114 system sales.

TXU profits: TXU achieved a 24 per cent increase in first quarter earnings from $0.76 to $0.94 per share. The quarter saw further strengthening of the company’s balance sheet with the sale of its UK networks business and two Texan power plants. Strong income from the US offset a weaker performance in the International Energy segment in the first quarter of 2002.

VA Tech link: VA Tech Hydro and National Electric Coil, USA, have combined resources for hydro plant repair, retrofit and upgrade services, formalizing a relationship already in place for projects in Alabama and Oregon.