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Nexans reports that it will supply 80 km of 230 kV cable for a major offshore project on the eastern coast of the Arabian Gulf.

A press release said that Nexans will supply the composite submarine cables, which will be produced at its plant in Halden, Norway, while the fiber optic cable required for the project will be produced by the company’s specialized factory in Rognan. Cable installation is expected to begin in early 2022.
The order comes from McDermott, which in 2019 was chosen by Saudi Aramco—Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil and gas company—for a major expansion of the Marjan oil and gas field. The site, located in the Arabian Gulf, off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, is undergoing expansion under the Marjan Crude Increment Programme announced in 2017. Discovered in 1967, the Marjan field is one of the oldest and biggest offshore oil and gas fields in the Arabian Gulf. It is currently undergoing expansion under the Marjan increment program (MIP) announced in 2017.

Saudi Aramco, the owner and operator of the field, announced the implementation of MIP to expand the crude production from the field to 800,000 barrels per day. It will help the oil major to maintain its overall maximum sustained crude production capacity at 12 million barrels a day. Front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies were started in 2017, while multiple developmental work packages for the expansion project were awarded in 2018 and 2019. The development program includes a new offshore gas-oil separation plant, and 24 offshore oil, gas, and water injection platforms.

Of note, Saudi Aramco awarded $18 billion worth of contracts for the engineering, procurement, and construction to boost production from both the Marjan and Berri offshore fields in July 2019.

Last modified on April 3, 2020

ArcelorMittal announced that it has signed a deal that would see a significant injection of Italian state funding go into the Ilva steelworks it took over in 2018, and has since resulted in major losses.

Per multiple media reports, ArcelorMittal had threatened to return the long-troubled Ilva steel complex back to the Italian government. The world’s largest steel company noted that it lost 2 million euros a day in 2019, and that it had been negotiating with the government (Rome). The reported deal will see Rome taking an equity stake at least equal to Arcelor Mittal’s remaining liabilities against the original purchase price for Ilva. If the deal is completed, the original lease and purchase agreement under which ArcelorMittal took over Ilva, would close by May 2022.

Under the investment plan, Ilva will invest in lower-carbon steelmaking technologies, with a DRI (Direct Reduced Iron) facility to be built, funded and operated by outside investors, and an electric arc furnace to be built by ArcelorMittal. If the new investment plan cannot be completed by Nov. 30, ArcelorMittal said it could withdraw from the deal, subject to an agreed payment.

The future of the plant has been a challenge for successive Italian governments seeking to clean up the polluted site in the southern city of Taranto while safeguarding thousands of jobs. Last year, ArcelorMittal announced it was pulling out of the 2018 takeover agreement after parliament scrapped a guarantee of legal immunity from prosecution over environmental risks during a clean-up of the heavily polluting factory. What follows is a brief summation of past WJI stories about the Ilva complex.

The integrated steel plant, whose product range includes wire rod, has employed as many as 16,000 people, and thousands more as contractors. Capacity topped 11 million metric tons (mmt), with production at times representing as much as 40% of Italy’s steel production. The flip side was the cost for those achievements.
In 1991, Taranto was described as the most polluted city in Italy and Western Europe, and declared a high environmental risk area by the Ministry of Environment. The Ilva steel complex was deemed the largest offender. For years, there were complaints about pollution from the massive site, including “red dust” that coated the area. The European Pollutant Emission Register estimated that dioxin emissions from the Taranto Ilva operations were responsible for 30% of all such reported emissions in Italy in 2002. An even higher number was reported for 2004.

In recent years, the news has been crushing on multiple levels for Ilva. ArcelorMittal was criticized by trade unions that blamed the steel giant as well as by the ruling anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S)—a foe of big industry—for exiting a deal that would have safeguarded thousands of jobs. Ultimately, opinion has been split between those who see the business as a necessity due to its providing revenue to the area, and those who say that the environmental price has been far too high.

Last modified on April 3, 2020

Encore Wire Corporation announced plans to further expand its campus in McKinney, Texas. Per comments in the company’s latest quarterly earnings report, the wire manufacturer’s expansion will be carried out in two phases, with the first phase beginning late in the first quarter of 2020.

Phase 1 will include a new 720,000-sq-ft facility on the north end of Encore’s existing campus, located at 1329 Millwood Road in McKinney. “The facility will act as a service center, modernizing our logistics to allow for increased throughput and provide the bandwidth necessary to capture incremental sales volumes,” the report stated.

Phase one will allow Encore to compete at a higher level in the marketplace while strengthening its industry-leading customer service and order fill rates, per the information. Construction on phase one is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. Following shortly after, phase two will focus on repurposing Encore’s existing distribution center by expanding its manufacturing capacity significantly and extending its market reach. The second phase is anticipated to be complete in 2022.

“This is an exciting time for Encore’s employees, customers and stakeholders,” Encore Chairman, President and CEO Daniel L. Jones said in the report. “We’ve been under construction since inception, and we continue to grow today. Our two-phase expansion plans will extend our reach and increase manufacturing capacity to meet the growing needs of our customers.”

Encore Wire’s legacy traces back to its launching in 1989, as a 68,000-sq-ft industrial warehouse building in McKinney, Texas. “With support and dedication from our employees, our customers and our community, we have grown to over 2 million square feet under roof and stretch across 425 acres. Today, Encore Wire is a leading manufacturer of copper and aluminum residential, commercial and industrial building wire.”

Last modified on April 3, 2020

LS C&S has won a turnkey contract valued at approximately $85 million for a submarine cable project to connect Bahrain’s tourist islands. 

A press release said that Bahrain EWA (Electricity & Water Authority) plans to run 25 km of power cable between the main islands of Bahrain southeast to the Hawar Islands, which are known as a “go to” destination for divers. The Bahrain government wants to develop the area as a tourist complex, so it plans to access electricity from the main island rather than build a power plant on one of the smaller islands.

Saudi-based ALGIHAZ Contracting Co. is the primary project contractor. LS C&S will take charge of the submarine cable portion, with the project scheduled to be completed in September 2021. The project was supported by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and there was fierce competition for the contract by major cable makers in Europe and Japan. LS C&S said in the release that its experience of global long-distance projects, such as Jeju-Jindo Island power grid (113 km), Qatar (100 km), Canada (35 km) and the U.S. (30 km), “greatly helped the company win the contract.”

“As the power grid is also closely related to national security and social unrest due to blackout, economic thinking alone will not determine suppliers,” LS C&S President and CEO Roe-hyun Myung said. “LS C&S is capitalizing on its products and construction competency to expand its advance into overseas and increasing domestic investments as well.”

The release also said that LS C&S dominated the Taiwanese submarine cable market, worth $420 million in 2019, and that the business has already begun to grow in earnest. “So, the company invested about $42 million in Donghae, Gangwon-do, and plans to complete a second plant this coming March.”

Last modified on April 3, 2020

Messe Düsseldorf has rescheduled the world's largest wire and cable industry trade show, postponed because of the Coronavirus, to Dec. 7-11, 2020.

"It is very important for us to inform you of this new date as soon as possible in order to ensure planning security for the entire industry and its partners," said Wolfram N. Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. "Our customers and partners can trust us to act calmly and responsibly even in difficult situations."

Existing contracts with Messe Düsseldorf remain valid for the new date, visitor tickets already purchased remain valid as well. 2,600 exhibitors in 15 halls are expected to present their latest machinery and equipment for wire and tube production, processing and finishing, end products, products and services.

The Düsseldorf hotel industry is also sending out an important signal through its umbrella organisation DEHOGA (Trade Association for the Hospitality Industry): "We appeal to our members and the entire industry to be flexible when it comes to rebooking by exhibitors and visitors. The Düsseldorf trade fairs such as wire and Tube play an enormously important role for the city, the hotel industry and the catering trade. It would be counterproductive not to show goodwill in this situation,” as both DEHOGA-Representatives Giuseppe Saitta (Chairman Düsseldorf/District Group Rhein-Kreis Neuss) and Rolf D. Steinert (Düsseldorf/Rhein-Kreis Neuss Hotels and Tourism Group) emphasize.  

Current information can be found in the Internet portals at: www.wire.de and www.Tube.de.

Last modified on March 6, 2020

NKT announced that it has signed a supplier agreement with Dogger Bank Wind Farms Creyke Beck A and Creyke Beck B site to delivery and install high-voltage DC on- and offshore export cable systems.

A press release said that the order calls for NKT to provide 4×175 km of 320 kV DC offshore export power cables, and approximately 4×32 km of 320 kV DC onshore export power cables. Production of the power cable will start at the end of this year at its plant in Karlskrona, Sweden. The contract was valued at approximately 360 million euros. The agreement “will contribute positively to the medium voltage cables market trends owing to its supply of green energy to approximately 3 million households in the U.K.”

“I am excited that our long-term customers of Equinor and SSE have selected NKT as turnkey provider of the cable systems for the Dogger Bank Wind Farms Creyke Beck A/B and recognize us as a high-voltage DC technology partner in the market,” said NKT President and CEO Alexander Kara. “I am pleased to observe the continued European focus on increasing the use of renewable energy sources, which is a trend from which NKT sees good growth opportunities.”

The company also reports that it has qualified its 525 kV high-voltage DC power cable for the German corridor projects, which it notes represents “a milestone in the European green energy transformation.”

A press release said that certification of the company’s XLPE underground power cable enables it to be used for coming high-voltage DC corridor projects in Germany. These projects constitute a vital step in the country’s transition of its energy supply to come from renewable sources, a strategy called “Energiewende,” Germany’s long-term strategy for switching to renewable energies by 2050. That initiative will require long-distance power transmission lines to transport renewable energy.

The certification process was not a quick one. The cable underwent more than a year of testing by an external power cable test institute. The resulting certification adds to the Cigre qualification earned in 2014 when NKT first launched the world’s first 525 kV XLPE power cable.
The cable, which keeps transmission losses low, will be manufactured at NKT’s high-voltage plants in Germany and Sweden, solely using “green” electricity. The local presence “will also ensure short transportation distances to the HVDC corridors and thereby minimize the total carbon footprint.”

Last modified on March 6, 2020

BizLink Holding announced that it will acquire Singapore’s Speedy Industrial Supplies Pte., Ltd., for approximately US$47 million, a deal that will bolster its production and sales force in Southeast Asia.

A press release said that BizLink’s board of directors had approved the buyout bid, and both parties were expected to have closed the deal by the end of February. Speedy’s product lines include wire harnesses and cables, PCBs and other electronics components for industrial and medical applications. It has assembly lines in Singapore and Malaysia to serve clients mostly in Europe and the U.S.

“The acquisition is expected to help BizLink expand its customer bases in the medical field and expand its product portfolios for industrial applications, while better extending its business tentacles worldwide,” the release said.

Per the website of BizLink, the company, based in the U.S. in Silicon Valley, has manufacturing bases in the U.S., Mexico, Slovakia, Serbia, Malaysia and China, the latter of which represents 65% of its production capacity. The company had relocated part of production to Southeast Asia and Mexico among other places in the wake of the U.S.-China trade dispute

BizLink was founded in 1996, and was listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) in 2011. Of note, it was named to Newsweek’s 2020 list of America’s Most Responsible Companies, and Deloitte’s “2019 Asia Pacific Technology Fast 500.”

Last modified on March 6, 2020

MAGNIFIN Magnesiaprodukte GmbH & Co KG (MAGNIFIN), a 50-50 joint venture, is one step closer to finalizing the location of a second facility to expand its production of magnesium hydroxides

A press release said that the MAGNIFIN board has approved the preparatory work for what will be the JV’s second such plant. MAGNIFIN is a joint venture between Martinswerk GmbH, part of the Fire Retardant Additives (FRA) business of the Huber Engineered Materials (HEM) division of J.M. Huber Corporation (Huber) and Veitscher Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH, part of the group of companies of RHI Magnesita N.V. (RHIM).

“This planned significant investment is driven to meet growing global demand and support the growth of its customers for high-purity, halogen-free magnesium hydroxide fire retardants,” the release said. The new plant would manufacture the same product portfolio being made at Breitenau, Austria. This expansion project would further enhance the company’s ability to deliver premium magnesium hydroxides (MAGNIFIN®) and would provide additional supply chain flexibility for its customers.

MAGNIFIN coated and uncoated magnesium hydroxides are environment friendly, non-halogenated flame retardants used in a wide range of polymer applications, especially thermoplastic materials and elastomers requiring high processing temperatures in excess of 200°C.
A spokesman said that the location is expected to be in Europe, likely the eastern part of Europe, and will serve the European and Eastern Asian markets. The new plant will take approximately three years to build. Modular steps will be taken in regards to capacity, but it’s ultimately expected to double current capacity.

Last modified on March 6, 2020

Acciaierie di Calvisano (Feralpi) announced that it is waiting final approval of the proposal it made to its 50-50 partner in the Caleotto wire rod mill.

A published report said that its partner, Duferco Italia Holding, has agreed to sell its ownership in the rod mill in northern Italy. Caleotto supplies special wire rod to a number of markets, including the automotive sector

Last modified on March 6, 2020

Southwire plans to close operations at its plant in Hayesville, North Carolina, effective March 31.

Per a report in the Clay County Progress, the plant, acquired by Southwire in 2014, employs some 45 employees. Production there will be moved to other Southwire plants. “This decision is not a reflection on the people, the quality or the performance of the facility, nor is it one we take lightly,” said Rich Stinson, Southwire’s president and CEO. “As we look at our long-term strategy, we must ensure we are properly aligned to make the best use of our facilities and best meet the needs of our customers.”

Last modified on March 3, 2020

Italy’s Mario Frigerio SpA announced that it has acquired the intellectual property rights (IP rights), as well as the inventory, of Germany’s ERNST KOCH GmbH & Co., KG, a storied equipment manufacturer.

A press release said that Mario Frigerio has established a new company—KOCH Machinery and Technology GmbH (KOCH)—in Germany. Lucia Frigerio, executive vice president of Mario Frigerio, will also serve as managing director, along with Jochen Koch. Lucia Frigerio said that the deal enables the resulting organization to offer “the world’s best European technology,” and that it will be able to quickly respond to service needs around the world, and will stock original spare parts.

“With this acquisition, the MFL GROUP will strengthen its worldwide presence, and complete its portfolio of products in the Wire and Rope Division with reinforcement steel wire lines as well as cold heading wire lines,” Frigerio said in the release. It noted that KOCH will also service the complete program of the former entity. That includes spare parts supply, maintenance programs, electrical revamping and mechanical retrofitting.

Founded in 1921, Ernst Koch GmbH supplied its first wire machine in the 1930s, built by master mechanic Ernst Koch. In the 1950s, his sons, Albert and Heinrich, began supplying wet drawing machines, take-up frames for galvanizing lines, and wire straightening and cutting machines. In 1969, it partnered with WAFIOS AG to provide specialized drawing machines and cold-rolling technology. The company expanded its product range over the years, to where it had some 130 employees, customers in more than 60 countries, with 80% of its products are now being exported.

Last modified on March 3, 2020

U.S.-based Fisk Alloy, Inc., announced that it has agreed to be bought by Thermo Technologies, a French company that is active in five companies in three continents (Europe, North America and Asia), for an undisclosed sum.

A press release said that the deal represents “a strategic combination designed to create a global expert in high-performance copper alloy wires.” Fisk Alloy, founded in 1973, manufactures advanced copper alloy wire for sectors such as automotive, medical, electronic and aerospace. It has some 200 employees at its plant in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

Thermo Technologies produces electrolytic precious metal coatings, EDM wire, high-tech solid and stranded copper, copper alloy and aluminum wires, and more. It is controlled by Edify SA, a Swiss industrial holding company listed on the Euro-MTF market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

Thermo Technologies CEO Gilles Mollard will oversee the combined operations. Eric Fisk, CEO and controlling owner of Fisk Alloy, “will step aside from day-to-day operations, become a significant investor in Thermo Technologies and join its Supervisory Board.” Current Fisk management will run the company’s U.S. operations, which will retain the Fisk name. The transaction is expected to close at the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Last modified on March 3, 2020