News digest

Aker Kvaerner positive: The oil, gas, energy and process group Aker Kvaerner reported positive results in the first quarter of 2004 with EBITDA of NOK324m ($46.8m), compared with NOK209m in the same period last year.

British Energy improves: British Energy posted a UK operating profit of £57m ($103.7m) for the year to March 2004 compared to £7m last year and a loss before tax and items of £194m compared with £274m. A European Commission decision on the UK government rescue package is awaited.

Fortum outsourcing: In order to improve service and efficiency, Fortum is in negotiations to outsource its IT infrastructure from September 2004. The chosen provider will handle work stations, server and data communication services as well as user support.

GE moves on BHA: GE Energy has signed an agreement to acquire BHA Group Holdings, a Kansas City-based provider of air quality control products and services, in a cash transaction worth $260m.

MTU growth decade: DaimlerChrysler-owned engine company MTU Friedrichshafen has maintained its revenue growth for a tenth successive year. The 2003 financial year saw sales of approximately g1.3bn ($1.6bn) with over 7000 engines sold.

Rovsing adds backing: Rovsing, the Danish developer of advanced predictive maintenance and condition monitoring systems, has secured g10m ($12m) in funding from investors for further commercialization of its activities and international expansion.

Sulzer adds OSU: Sulver Limited’s thermal coatings business has been strengthened by the acquisition of OSU Maschinenbau, a Duisberg-based arc spray specialist. The OSU Maschinenbau product portfolio will now be available through Sulzer Metco’s distribution network.

Siemens launches HV data lines: Siemens is marketing a power line carrier system, Powerlink, capable of transferring data via high voltage lines. The system can also send video data, enhancing security at remote transformer substations.

Siemens PG multiplies: Since its takeover of Demag Delaval in 2001 and the acquisition of Alstom Industrial Turbine business in 2003, Siemens Power Generation Group has multiplied its business volume tenfold from g270m ($328m) to over g2bn.

VA Tech orders up: first quarter figures of 2004 saw overall orders up 23 per cent at Austria’s VA Tech. A steady increase was reported in the power generation division due to increased demand for electricity and a focus on renewable energies.

Entergy-Koch reviewed

Entergy Corporation and Koch Industries, the 50-50 owners of Houston-based Entergy-Koch LP, have announced a broad strategic review of the company they established in 2001, with a view to a possibility of selling the venture’s energy trading operations in the USA and UK. Entergy-Koch has two subsidiaries engaged in energy trading along with Gulf South Pipeline Company.

In a joint statement the owners said, “Entergy-Koch has built an industry-leading trading franchise that may be highly valued in light of recent changes in market and competitive dynamics.” In addition to selling units, the strategic review will consider maintaining the current ownership structure, adding one or more new owners to the venture, or modifying the current ownership structure.

Gasification deal sealed

Oil company ConocoPhillips and global engineering group Flour Corp. have announced a worldwide alliance to develop, design, construct and operate new energy schemes utilizing ConocoPhillips’E-Gas technology for energy and chemical products.

E-Gas Technology incorporates a proprietary gasification system design, which can be applied with gas turbine and steam power generation in an advanced integrated combined cycle configuration to produce electric power. This can simultaneously co-produce synthesis gas, hydrogen and steam.

It is one of the cleanest and most efficient commercial technologies for coal or petroleum coke-based electric power generation.

Deutz AG takes g40m charge in restructuring process

German engine manufacturer Deutz AG has announced a restructuring of its medium and large engine business operations, aimed at creating a more efficient and profitable organization.

In the short term this will result in a provision of g40m ($49m), say officials at the company. Cologne-based Deutz is to establish a separate entity, Deutz Power Systems, located in Mannheim, Germany to concentrate on profitable market segments. The key area of focus will be the gas engine business for decentralized power generation.

Deutz increased sales in this area in 2003 and is seeing particularly strong growth rates for renewable energy applications such as landfill gas and bio-gas.

The reorganization and cost cutting will result in the loss of 400 jobs in the medium and large engine business.

TXU and Capgemini form new outsource venture

Capgemini and TXU Corp. have agreed to establish Capgemini Energy Limited Partnership, a new company that will initially provide business process services and information technology solutions to TXU, with a plan to offer similar services to other energy companies in the future.

The ten-year agreement is valued in excess of $3.5bn, but while TXU will see 2700 employees transfer to the new entity, it will own only three per cent of Capgemini Energy, with an option to sell its interest to Capgemini upon termination of the contract. In a form of collaborative outsourcing, the partnership will provide IT, call centre, billing, supply chain and accounting services to TXU.

This is the second large transaction for Capgemini in the utility sector in North America. It already operates a multi-client platform in Canada for Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power.

Wärtsilä, Ballard collect awards

Finnish power group Wärtsilä has won the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Market Leadership Award for the European cogeneration reciprocating engine market. Frost & Sullivan noted that strong technology innovation has been instrumental in Wärtsilä’s ability to offer solutions to power generation.

Frost & Sullivan’s 2004 Energy Product and Alternative Technology awards both went to Ballard Power. Ballard’s Nexa RM Series hydrogen fuelled stationary fuel cell generator was named 2004 Energy Product and the same unit was named the 2004 Alternative Technology of the Year for its attributes as an uninterruptible power supply system.

Twin boost for Trithor 2G HTS

The German manufacturer of high temperature superconducting (HTS) wire for electric power applications, Trithor, has signed agreements with Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden to accelerate developments in HTS technology. The link up will involve co-ordinated research and development on the first and second generation HTS wires, as well as shared intellectual property portfolios.

In addition, the European Commission has awarded g2m ($2.5m) project volume to a consortium lead by Trithor to develop commercial manufacturing processes for second generation HTS wires. “The combination of seed funding and networking with some of Europe’s best laboratories stands for a successful jump-start into 2G wire,” said Dr Jens Müller, managing director of Trithor.