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AmSuper sets benchmark: American Superconductor has reported that it has achieved a key milestone in the manufacturing development of its second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. The company has achieved electrical performance levels of 330 A, and has also reported high performance results on lengths greater than 30 m.

Areva orders: Areva has signed a series of agreements with German, Dutch and Swiss electricity utilities worth g400m ($487m) for its back end division. The agreements cover treatment of used fuel for Dutch utility EPZ; the transport, treatment and recycling of non-irradiated fuel from fast reactors for German utility RWE; and the fabrication of MOX assemblies for the Swiss utility NOK.

Cooper alliance: Cooper Power Systems and Cargill Industrial Oils and Lubricants have formed an alliance to produce, market and distribute Envirotemp FR3 fluid to electric utilities. The product is used to insulate and cool electrical distribution products such as transformers and recently received the US Environment Protection Agency’s Environmental Technologies Verification.

E.ON positive trend: E.ON Group has announced that its positive earnings trend has continued in the second quarter of 2004. Operations outside its home market of Germany performed particularly well, and overall earnings before interest and tax rose 21 per cent to g4208m ($5123m).

Flowserve alliance: Flowserve Corp. and Wood Group Gas Turbine Services Holdings Inc. have formed an alliance to deliver a range of field and shop-based services for the maintenance, repair and upgrade of pumps and related equipment throughout the USA and Canada. The alliance will enable both companies to meet the needs of customers in the power, petroleum and other industries.

Pantellos AccuTrack: Electronic marketplace company Pantellos has launched Pantellos AccuTrack, the latest version of its contractor time and cost-tracking solution. The product provides utilities with a single point of entry and access for all labour, materials, equipment and expense data generated across the enterprise.

Washingon Group acquires: Washington Group International of the USA has acquired BNFL’s interest in the former Westinghouse government services business that the two companies jointly purchased five years ago from CBS Corporation. The business manages complex facilities and programmes for the USA’s Department of Energy and Department of Defense.

ABB improves

ABB has reported that its earnings, orders and revenues continued to improve in the second quarter of 2004, reflecting improved demand in the markets it serves. Orders increased 17 per cent over the same period in 2003, while revenues rose one per cent and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) increased by 106 per cent.

Higher earnings in the Power Technologies and Automation Technologies divisions contributed to a net income of $86m in the quarter compared to a loss of $55m in the 2003 period.

The order improvement was fuelled by the ongoing recovery in most of ABB’s markets, with orders from Asia doubling compared to the second quarter in 2003. The high level of Asian demand was led by India and China, and was driven by investment in power infrastructure and steady industrial growth.

Large orders in the Power Technologies division rose sharply as the result of a $309m order for a high voltage power link in China.

IP and Mitsui buy EME portfolio

International Power and Mitsui & Co. have agreed to buy the international generation portfolio of Edison Mission Energy for a total consideration of $2.3bn.

International Power will hold a 70 per cent stake in the portfolio and Mitsui & Co. the remainder. The portfolio consists of 13 power generation projects with a total net capacity of 5.4 GW located in nine countries.

The sale is an important step in Edison’s plans to divest its international assets, and follows the recent sale of its 51.2 per cent holding in Contact Energy to Origin Energy for $570m. On closing, these two transactions will complete the third step in Edison’s four-step restructuring plan.

The portfolio of assets has a complementary geographic fit with International Power’s existing portfolio and will improve the quality of earnings, says the UK-based company.

Ceramic moves into Europe

Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited (CFCL) has established a presence in the European market to take advantage of growth opportunities in the region. The company has set up a wholly owned subsidiary, Ceramic Fuel Cells (Europe) Limited, headquartered in the UK.

The formation of the new subsidiary will be a stepping stone to the creation of European joint ventures for large-scale fuel cell production and for partnerships with manufacturers of fuel cell appliances, according to Julian Dinsdale, executive vice chairman. The company recently listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and is considering a dual listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the UK.

CFCL focuses on distributed generation, particularly the micro combined heat and power and secure power markets.

Fly ash force

Separation Technologies and Lafarge Cement UK have agreed to work together to build and operate fly ash separation plants in the UK and Ireland. The two companies will offer an ash management solution for coal fired power plants that eliminates the need to transport and landfill the fly ash.

Separation Technologies, which is part of Titan America, specialises in electrostatic fly ash separation and ammonia removal technology. It will contribute its patented technology, engineering, equipment and technical support to the partnership. Lafarge will handle development and operation.

The two companies will market low carbon concrete quality fly ash from power plants to UK and Irish concrete manufacturers. Separated carbon-rich material will be returned to the power plant for use as a supplemental fuel.

GE Energy completes T&D deal

GE Energy has completed the acquisition of three business units of S. D. Myers, Inc. of Ohio, USA, a specialist in transformer and substation services. The three units acquired are Ohio Transformer, S. D. Myers Substation Services and S. D. Myers Engineered Transformer Products.

The three units will be integrated into GE Energy’s existing services business, and will expand the company’s capabilities in the transmission and distribution services industry.

Ohio Transformer specialises in repair, rewind and remanufacturing services for transformers while S. D. Myers Substation Services supplies field services for substation maintenance.

Ingersoll sells Dresser Rand

Ingersoll-Rand has agreed to sell its Dresser-Rand business unit to First Reserve Corporation, a US-based private equity firm, for $1.2bn. The deal is expected to close in late 2004.

First Reserve specializes in energy industry investments and the acquisition of Dresser-Rand is in line with its strategy to acquire leading companies serving the global energy industry. Dresser-Rand is a supplier of infrastructure equipment such as compressors, turbines and engines to the energy industry.