A Combination of Competences
Joint Venture of Ferrostaal and Haldor Topsoe Targets Major Projects In The Petrochemicals Sector
In April, Ferrostaal, based in Essen, Germany, and Haldor Topsoe, headquarterd in Copenhagen, Denmark, founded the joint venture Ferrostaal Topsoe Projects with registered office in Essen. The German project developer and the Danish supplier of catalyzers and process technology for petrochemical plants both have an equal share in the jv. Having already been working together for some time the partners now intend to expand their business activities in the petrochemicals segment further and to position the new company as a leading provider for the planning, financing and realization of major projects in the petrochemicals segment as well as in refinery and environmental technology. Ferrostaal managing director Dr. Klaus Lesker explained the strategy to CHEManager International.
CHEManager: Mr. Lesker, which services are Ferrostaal and Haldor Topsoe offering as a joint venture?
Dr. K. Lesker: We can now offer our customers a very special combination and partnership. In the new business we combine our decades of experience in project planning including investment issues with the technology of a world market leader in catalysers. For our customers this means attractive financing possibilities, support in the further development of the business plan, use of our worldwide network, the best possible technical and procedural planning and the implementation of investments from the very beginning.
What is the special feature of this offer?
Dr. K. Lesker: We integrate all the necessary partner companies, structure project companies and also participate with capital. In addition, together with partners we control the EPC contracting – i.e. planning, module supply and assembly - and the operating of the plants in order to secure strategic investments and their sustainable development. All these activities are embedded in a continual risk assessment and fulfil all social and environmental requirements. Ferrostaal Topsoe Projects is a perfect combination of competences along the value-added chain. With this we are offering a product that is unique throughout the world.
Technology is sure to play a central role in these competences.
Dr. K. Lesker: Yes! It is an advantage for our customers that we have the technology of Haldor Topsoe on board from the very beginning of the project conception. As a market leader in many sectors of technology and thanks to their extensive investments in research, Haldor Topsoe ensures that there are always innovative solutions available for our customers. The result is that, thanks to our integrative project development in comparison with separate tendering procedures for industrial projects, our customers can sell their products on the market up to nine months earlier. This also means a considerable increase in profits and in the profitability of investments, so that we create the best solution for the sustainable use of raw materials.
On which projects are you already cooperating with Haldor Topsoe?
Dr. K. Lesker: We are currently cooperating on two large ammonia plants in Tanzania and Cameroon. In Mtwara, in the south of Tanzania, we are involved in the development of a large plant together with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation. With a volume of more than US$ 1 billion this project is the largest German investment project in the country and will have a considerable effect on its economic development. In particular the farmers in Tanzania are looking forward to this as ammonia is the main component of fertilizers. Agriculture is responsible for a third of the gross domestic product of Tanzania and employs more than three quarters of the population.
You just mentioned social and environmental requirements. Can you explain these in more detail?
Dr. K. Lesker: Part of our mutual business policy is that we wish to pay a positive contribution to the development in emerging countries that can use their natural resources such as gas or also coal. In this way we put these countries in a position to produce important petrochemical products for their country and for export into the regions. That creates jobs and a sustainable economic growth in these countries.
The example of Tanzania demonstrates this well: By enabling investments of more than US$ 1 billion in the fertilizer complex, Tanzania can exploit the enormous gas resources with a high benefit for the economy and infrastructure. With the building and operating of the new fertilizer factory, due to be completed in 2019/2020, around 5,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created.
In which countries are you currently flying in order to publicise the joint venture?
Dr. K. Lesker: We most recently flew together to Indonesia to meet representatives of the economy and politics. We intend to realise a large petrochemical complex here together with local partners. Also, in Tanzania I had the opportunity of speaking with relevant decision makers on the occasion of a mutual visit together with Federal President Gauck. Our new cooperation in the joint venture now offers the optimal 360-degree solution for such industrial projects and has already met with great response. From the onset we have been well networked in the relevant markets as both Ferrostaal and Haldor Topsoe are already sought-after market participants in the petrochemical segment.
Where do you envisage the greatest order potential?
Dr. K. Lesker: We mutually envisage great market potential especially in the strongly growing emerging countries, but are also optimistic for the receipt of orders from regions such as North America.
What impacts do the external conditions such as instable political relations have in many countries in Africa?
Dr. K. Lesker: We are currently active in Africa, as already mentioned, in particular in Tanzania and Cameroon. Here the conditions are much more stable and organised than they appear to be if observed from Europe. Here, our long years of experience in these countries form an important basis for assessing the security and attractiveness of investments for our project partners. In such emerging countries in particular we can refer to successful projects involving billions of dollars in Trinidad or Venezuela.
And how do you estimate that the current low oil price will affect your business prospects?
Dr. K. Lesker: The low oil price offers risks and opportunities at the same time. On the one hand a low oil price with oil and gas price fixing will lead to lower feed stock prices or rather low expectations with regard to gas prices, on the other hand low oil prices are negative for investment decisions in the exploration industry. In this respect investments in oil/gas fields, that mainly benefit from the prospective income from the sale of oil, will possibly be slowed down in their further exploration, which in turn can also have a decelerating effect on the availability of gas in our projects. Which aspect prevails depends on each individual case.
What are the next targets and milestones?
Dr. K. Lesker: We presume that we can work profitably from the very beginning. We have a series of ambitious and demanding projects in the pipeline that could be realised as early as 2016/17. Furthermore, we expect a positive impulse for the financial markets and investors, a considerable boom in the demand for our technology products and new access to complex and highly profitable projects for the joint venture.