Technology tie-up with Lambion, Germany

Thermax signs technology transfer pact with Lambion

Business Standard | June 04, 2010

Thermax has signed a technology transfer license agreement with a German engineering company--Lambion Energy Solutions, having expertise in converting waste to energy.

This technology transfer agreement will provide Thermax with high efficiency combustion systems for using a high in moisture content like biomass for energy generation. It will be integrated in its boilers and heaters with heat output ranging from 4 MW to 30 MW. The licensing agreement is valid for a period of five years. A dedicated team from Thermax will work with Lambion to absorb and deploy this technology.

Thermax will have an exclusive license to market heating systems, equipped with the new technology in India and SAARC countries, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa. Over the last 30 years, Thermax has been offering its clients in India and other countries, biomass based equipment for energy generation. It already has a range of technologies such as fluidised bed combustion and traveling grate for extracting energy from a wide variety of biomass.

The new agreement with Lambion and subsequent technology upgradation will equip the company with advanced systems to provide industry eco-friendly ways of extracting energy from waste. Thermax also will gain the expertise to match European and American competitors in biomass fired energy systems in Indian and select overseas markets informs M S Unnikrishnan, managing director and CEO of Thermax and adds, "This partnership will reinforce our product offerings in the area of green energy."

For Lambion the partnership offers an opportunity to promote its expertise in new markets.

Freudenberg, Thermax tie-up for turbine cooling solutions

Business Standard | September 17, 2010

Freudenberg Filtration Technologies in partnership with Thermax is set to deliver patented new system for turbine and compressor filtration as well as cooling to the world market.

A strategic partnership has been formed with Thermax to deliver innovative solutions and to jointly offer filtration and cooling solutions for large gas turbines and compressors for the energy, petrochemical, iron, steel and other sectors.

Thermax and Freudenberg Filtration Technologies have together developed an entirely new system-Viledon eee.Sy (energy efficiency enhancement system) that cools the intake air of a turbine up to the ideal value of 15”c allowing an improvement of up to 25 per cent in energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.

Other added benefits of the new system are reduced maintenance expenses due to the longevity of filters, reduced stress on turbine blades besides extension of service lives of turbines and compressors. The partnership has since completed several implementations including one at a Tata Chemicals fertilizer plant. The new system/set of solutions would be of high relevance for plants in tropical and subtropical zones where high humidity and temperatures severely impair efficiency of gas turbines and compressors.

Freudenberg Filtration Technologies belonging to the Freudenberg Group--a global supplier of filters, lubricants in seals and vibration control technology said it has invested a total amount of Rs 130 crore in India.

Thermax bags Rs 1,000-cr power plant order

The Hindu BUSINESS line | September 17, 2010

Pune, Sept. 17 Energy and environment major Thermax has bagged an order for the turnkey supply of a 270 MW power plant being set up by a Hyderabad-based infrastructure company. The contract is valued at Rs 1,001 crore.

Thermax will design, construct and commission the coal based 2x135 MW plant on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

The boilers for this project will be manufactured by Thermax using the circulating fluidised bed combustion (CFBC) technology licensed from Babcock & Wilcox, US. The power plant will have the option of using both imported as well as low-grade Indian coal.

Apart from supplying the largest in the CFBC range of boilers, Thermax will also supply the air pollution control, water treatment and effluent treatment systems. The power plant will use sea water for its cooling requirements.

“As we move ahead, India will need to deploy CFBC technology for the IPP range to overcome the declining quality of Indian coal. This technology, will also help to generate power from the enormous quantity of coal-washery rejects, pet-coke and low-grade lignite,” Mr M.S. Unnikrishnan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Thermax, said.

Thermax acquires Danish co for Rs 187 cr

The Economic Times | November 10, 2010

PUNE: In its drive to go global, Thermax has acquired European boiler maker Danstoker group for e29.5 million (around Rs187 crore). The Danish company has two manufacturing plants — one in Denmark and the other in Germany.

“This acquisition is part of Thermax's plans to become a global company. We will retain the Danstoker and Omnical brands, both of which we acquired on Monday, since these have an appeal in Russian and Middle East markets. The acquisition will also help Thermax for its water treatment and pollution control products through the brand association,” said Thermax's managing director, MS Unnikrishnan.

He added that they could expand capacities at the two European locations since both plants have the land to expand.

The Danstoker group, which comprises the Danstoker company based in Herning, Denmark, and its German subsidiary, Omnical Kessel , makes biomass and oil, and gas-based boilers as well as waste heat recovery products in the same range as Thermax makes standard packaged boilers, although Danstoker's focus on renewable energy sources will provide Thermax with new technologies.

Renewable and green products account for over half of the European company's current revenues of e40 million (October 2009-September 2010), while its non-renewable-energy-based boilers are carbon neutral.

Mr Unnikrishnan said the acquisition presented an opportunity for Thermax to source the latest technology, quality and production practices.

“We will now have a much wider supply chain available to us. We began our international purchase office in 2003, buying from China. Now we will expand this globally,” he said.

He was referring to the Rs3,300-crore energy and environment solutions provider's manufacturing bases in India and China. These, he said, will be integrated, although currently the Danstoker group sources solely from the very expensive European market.

The standard packaged boiler market, used for heating and cooling, is globally worth $4.5-5 billion, with residential being the biggest segment. Till now, Thermax addressed only the industrial heating market.

With this acquisition, it enters the industrial segment, with no intentions at the moment to enter the residential segment.

While the cash-rich Thermax could have gone in for an all-cash buyout, it has chosen to raise debt of euro 10 million, thus putting the onus on the newly-acquired company to perform.

Danstoker was set up in 1935 by the United Coal Importers. Prior to Thermax's acquisition, it was part-owned by some workers and a few investment funds. “The group lacked management bandwidth to grow outside the mature European market,” said Mr Unnikrishnan.

Thermax to partner Icelandic firm for geothermal project

Hindu Business line | Nov. 11

3-MW pilot plant to be set up in Puga Valley in Ladakh

The estimated potential for geothermal energy in India is about 10,000 MW. Iceland, along with the US and the Philippines, is among the leaders in harnessing geothermal energy.

New Delhi, Thermax, the Pune-based capital goods manufacturer, is set to partner Icelandic firm Reykjavík Geothermal to set up a geothermal power project in India.

A pilot 3 MW project is slated to be set up in Puga Valley in Ladakh, which is likely to be the first such project in the country, industry sources said.

Geothermal projects harness the intense heat in molten rocks under the earth's crust for electricity generation and domestic heating.

Reykjavik Geothermal will help in drilling and exploration activities for the project, which are part of Thermax's plans to enter the ‘green energy' sector.

The Pune-based company is also reportedly looking at solar power as a diversification avenue.

Geothermal plants

Geothermal power plants use steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs to provide the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity.

The used geothermal water is then returned down an injection well into the reservoir to be reheated and to sustain the reservoir.

The estimated potential for geothermal energy in India is about 10,000 MW.

In India, exploration and study of geothermal fields started in 1970 and around 350 potential geothermal locations have been identified in India by the Geological Survey of India (GSI). Puga Valley is known for high temperature geothermal systems, with the geothermal activity concentrated in a three-sq km area of the 15-km long Valley.

Iceland, along with the US and the Philippines, is among the leaders in harnessing geothermal energy.

Due to the special geological location of Iceland, the high concentration of volcanoes in the area is often an advantage in the generation of geothermal energy, the heating and production of electricity.

Five major geothermal power plants exist in Iceland, that produce approximately 24 per cent of the nation's energy in 2009.

In addition, geothermal heating meets the heating and hot water requirements of nearly 90 per cent of all buildings in Iceland.

US, Philippines

According to the International Geothermal Association, an estimated 10,715 MW of geothermal power capacity is currently on stream in 24 countries. In 2010, the US led the world in geothermal electricity production with 3,086 MW of installed capacity from 77 power plants.

The Philippines is the second-highest generator, with 1,904 MW of capacity online, with geothermal power making up approximately 18 per cent of the country's electricity generation.

In India, from the point of view of electrification of rural and remote areas, geothermal energy has a great potential in terms of its impact in the Himalayan region, where even small projects of 5 kilowatts can significantly change the economic situation and living standards.

Meher Pudumjee in Business Today list

Meher Pudumjee's day in the sun

Business Today | November 11, 2010

Meher Pudumjee
44, Chairperson, Thermax Ltd
(Number of times in BT's Most Powerful list: 2)

She isn't your regular corporate CEO - Meher Pudumjee, Chairperson of Thermax Ltd, eschews management jargon, and does not think it is a big deal to be "powerful."

"I do not like the word." When it comes to strategy and execution, however, she is bang on the money. Right now, she has her hands full repositioning Thermax as a sustainable energy and environment solutions company. The company recently designed a unit to provide solar power to a village in Maharashtra in a public-private partnership.

Biggest achievement in 2010: Focusing on sustainable energy

Being a powerful woman is important because: Powerful to me is being a good human being and making a difference

Tip for work-life balance: Delegate instead of doing it all by yourself

A workplace without women is like: Missing out on 50 per cent of the world's population

Thermax acquires Danstoker

Thermax acquires Danstoker, gears up for ME expansion

Khaleej Times | 2 December 2010

DUBAI — Thermax, an Indian engineering major with a strong presence in the GCC, has announced its acquisition of Danstoker, a leading European boiler manufacturer and its German subsidiary, Omnical Kessel.

With this acquisition, we are looking forward to strengthen our presence in the Middle East and South East Asia as both Omnical aid MS Unnikrishnan, Managing Director of the Thermax, a Rs33 billion energy and environment solutions leader.

In the Middle East, Thermax customers include Emirates Refining Company, Petrofac, VOPAC, Sharjah Oil, Castrol, Caltex UAE, Kuwait National Petroleum Company, SABIC, Arabian Petrochemicals Saudi Arabia. Thermax has provided them boilers, heaters cooling systems and chemicals for water treatment and boiler operations, said Unnikrishnan.

The acquisition is valued at Euro 29.5 million.

Danstoker, headquartered in Herning, Denmark is a respected brand in renewable energy and with over 1200 installations in Europe, it has a strong presence in Nordic countries, Germany, UK, France and Russia.

Danstoker manufacturing facilities are located in both Denmark and Germany, where it had acquired Omnical in 2003. Omnical, the Danstoker subsidiary is a respected brand in the Middle East and has several global names on its client list – Volkswagen, BMW, Damiler Benz, Audi, Shell, Exxon, Du Pont, Bayer, BASF, Ferrero and Coca Cola, among others.

“Omnical systems will strengthen the offerings of Thermax, which over the last two decades have commissioned several heating, cooling and waste heat recovery projects for oil-gas, petrochemical, food and paper sectors in the Middle East,” said Unnikrishnan.

AM Roshan, head, Corporate Communications of Thermax, speaking from Thermax head office in India, said the acquisition offered a strategic fit for Thermax's packaged boiler business, under the Cooling & Heating Business Unit. “Providing state-of-the-art technology and process know-how for the company's heating business, it will enable the division to enhance its product portfolio and extend it to new untapped markets.”

Thermax will add 237 experienced employees to its rolls with this acquisition, apart from a well organized and established supply chain rooted in the high-quality European engineering industry. It will also benefit from the strong business relations that Danstoker and Omnical have built with customers, dealers, packagers and consultants in Europe. Capitalising on Thermax's engineering and project management capabilities, Danstoker can enhance its market share in the growing European green energy market.

Operating predominantly within Germany, Omnical brand is well known in markets like the Middle East using oil and gas based heating and power systems. It also has supplier relationships with European and Japanese gas turbine manufacturers for their requirements of waste heat recovery systems.

Renewable and green products account for over 50 per cent of the current revenues of the Danstoker Group. This acquisition will enable Thermax to leverage the ongoing renewable energy movement of Europe aimed at generating 20 per cent of its overall energy generation from renewables.

Signs of Capex upsurge: Thermax in FY10 | December 15, 2010

The capex cycle, which started in 2004, took a breather between 2009 and 2010 as the world faced liquidity constraints, leading to dearth of demand affecting the prices of end products.

The Indian economy is on the cusp of an upturn in its capex cycle and early signs of a pronounced capex upswing have already begun to emerge. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth has averaged at about 8% over the last five years and is expected to grow at 8-9% over the next few years.

We believe that macro indicators such as huge project announcements, improving utilization levels in the system, improved business confidence, increasing end-product prices and expectation of significant demand improvement will lead to a growth in the capex cycle. Total fund raising by companies in FY10 has increased to 45% of the GDP.

Funds raised by companies grew 20.5% in FY10 compared with 18% in FY09. We believe that firms such as Thermax Ltd and Cummins India Ltd that have a strong product profile, capacities and technologies, are likely to be the beneficiaries.

The capex cycle, which started in 2004, took a breather between 2009 and 2010 as the world faced liquidity constraints, leading to dearth of demand affecting the prices of end products.

We believe that an interruption in the capex cycle seen over the last two years could resume and accelerate over the next few years. Rising economic growth momentum, improving domestic demand prospects and growing capacity utilization since FY09 have translated into a recent growth in capacity expansion plans as well as in actual project implementation.

The industry witnessed fresh investment announcements worth Rs9.5 trillion during April-September 2010. The continuous flow of investment announcements reflects the confidence of industries in sustaining the current upsurge in demand. More importantly, the current investment boom is not triggered by the government but by companies that are optimistic about the growth potential of the economy and are investing willingly. This is evident from the fact that the share of private sector in the outstanding investment has been rising steadily—from 39% in 2004 to 58% in 2010.

The order book for the sector stood at Rs3,235 billion, up 29% year-on-year (y-o-y), which is 2.9 times (trailing 12 months) sales and order inflow for the sector was up 19.3%.

The book-to-bill ratio for the sector has been improving consistently together with steady execution, which we think is an encouraging sign. Power continued to dominate the order inflow for most companies in the sector. The management commentary on industrial capex across companies sounded positive and we expect orders to pick up.

Out of the total projects worth Rs1,660 crore to be commissioned during 2010-13, infrastructure contributes about 28% (road, telecom, shipping, air among others), power contributes about 26.5%, followed by metal (ferrous and non-ferrous) and oil and gas with about 17% and others about 12% (cement, fertilizer, retail and hotels). Need for better infrastructure, improved demand, high utilization levels and higher end product prices is driving investment in most of these industries.

Thermax on Chinese in Indian power sector

L&T cuts plan, Thermax warns as Chinese charge in

DNA | December 20, 2010

In the last three months, Chinese power equipment majors have won $15 billion — or Rs70,000 crore — worth of power equipment contracts from Indian firms, setting off a wave of angst in the domestic industry.

So much so, Larsen & Toubro, the country's largest private largest engineering and construction major, has curtailed its targeted capacity expansion by 33%.

L&T's power division had planned to ramp up capacity by 50% at its Hazira facility from 4,000 mw to 6,000 mw by 2012, but after the recent multibillion-dollar agreements signed by power producers with Chinese rivals, it has been forced to can the expansion, according to Ravi Uppal, managing director and chief executive officer of L&T Power.

Thermax, the country's largest private sector boiler manufacturer, has also threatened that it would ‘withhold' its plan of investing “`5,000 crore over the coming years” unless the government imposes tax on imports from China.

Under the largest China-India power deal, Reliance Power announced in October-end that the company will place a $10 billion order with Shanghai Electric Group Company for getting 30,000 mw capacity of boiler, turbine and generator packages for its coal-based power plants.

Last week, the Essar Group signed an agreement with China Development Bank Corporation, under which the conglomerate would get priority lending for $3 billion when it buys equipment for its power, shipping, and steel business.

Over the weekend, Abhijeet Group and KSK Energy awarded Dongfang Electric Corporation with an order size of $2.7 billion for super-critical units for burning coals power and wind power equipment, respectively.

Leading private sector equipment manufacturers say that cheaper credit offered from Chinese banks for financing these agreements and subsidies provided by Beijing have made companies like Shanghai Electric Group Co emerge as the new power equipment makers of the world.

“Lower interest rate on purchasing equipment from there (China) is making many rush to sign agreements,” said B G Raghupathy, chairman and managing director of BGR Energy, the Chennai-based power sector company.

Worryingly for private players, analysts say this trend would only strengthen in future as Beijing seems to be in no mood to stop subsidising its equipment manufacturers.

“For the short term, Chinese companies have got the contracts, so the government will see to it that the investments made by the domestic players don't lose out as most of them are in the initial development stage,” said Arvind Mahajan, executive director at audit firm and consultancy KPMG.

“Imposing duties is one step the government could think of. They (government) could also ask the Chinese players to partner with domestic players rather than merely export equipment,” said Mahajan.

Earlier this year, a Planning Commission committee headed by ArunMaira had asked for a 14% duty on Chinese power equipment, a move which would have helped Indian power equipment makers compete globally.

But the advice did not pass muster with the finance ministry, which believed it was “anti competition”, leaving players like L&T, which has invested Rs3,500 crore in setting up a manufacturing plant, in a spot.

“It is rather unfortunate that most companies are going to China for sourcing equipment,” said Uppal, adding that equipment manufactured in China is up to 25% cheaper than in India on account of various direct and indirect subsidies offered by Beijing.

“We have the technical know-how. All the global giants are here,” explained Uppal, whose company has two joint ventures with Japanese-major Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd to manufacture super critical boilers and steam turbine generators.

India aims to expand its power capacity by 100,000 mw over the coming five years, at an investment of Rs500,000 crore. Since the majority of this expansion would be funded by private players, their decision to opt for Chinese equipment manufacturers could result in the Indian exchequer losing Rs180,000 crore, according to MS Unnikrishnan, managing director, Thermax.

This loss, according to Unnikrishnan, was calculated after adding various forms of taxes —- octroi, excise, minimum alternative tax and income tax —- a manufacturer would have paid in India, already the second-largest power equipment market, behind China.

“You are compromising our country by allowing this unbridled import, knowing fully that they are being subsidised (and then financed) cheaper loans from Chinese banks,” said Unnikrishnan. The company has a pact with US-based Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc to make supercritical boilers and subcritical boilers of more than 300 mw. Additionally, it also has joint venture with US-based SPX Corporation to provide pollution control equipments to new power plants.

“The playing field is distorted,” said Sunil Chaturvedi, chief operating officer, capital goods division, Bharat Forge.

Bharat Forge has two joint ventures in the power divison: one with French power engineering company Alstom to build critical turbine generators and the other with NTPC for the balance of power equipment including high-pressure valves and pumps.

However, Raghupathy says things won't be too worrisome for at least two years because none of the private equipment manufacturers' joint ventures with foreign partners is functional. “(Nonetheless) we are definitely in trouble if this trend (sourcing to China) continues.”

The industry is also sceptical of the efficiency of Chinese equipment makers, with many saying they remain quality control on their power turbines.

Still, the companies that have placed orders with Chinese companies remain undeterred. “China itself has added 100,000 mw energy in the last year. This was done using the same technology which we are importing,” said an executive at the Nagpur-based Abhijeet Group, which has interests in mining, steel and power.

A spokesperson for Reliance Power declined to comment for the story.

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