China Looks for Assembly Site in Europe

Chinese ZPMC, world’s biggest gantry crane maker, aims to boost its market shares in the global wind power industry and plans to set up an assembly plant in Europe. Sweden is one of the countries it may invest in, the company’s senior vice president Dai Wenkai told the Swedish Wire in Shanghai.

ZPMC, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, was started in 1992 and is today one of the biggest companies in the world. It has a 75 percent global market share for port equipments, such as container handling cranes, and is involved in some of the world’s biggest infrastructure projects.

But it’s the offshore industry and wind power sector that will be the new growth engines. Earlier this year the Chinese firm swallowed U.S. rig company Friede Goldman United, which provide design services and equipment for offshore drilling rigs, for 125 million dollar.

Although the European wind power market has seen a number of projects delayed during the recession, Dai Wenkai has a positive outlook for the market.
“We believe in the near future, many offshore windfarm projects in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark and other countries near North Sea area will start”, he said in an interview.

To get closer to the action, the company plans to set up an assembly plant in Europe.

“In order to make our offer for provide steel structure for European offshore windfarm project, we are now considering to find a site for products storage and steel structure [mono piles and transit parts] assembly in Europe”, Dai Wenkai said.

“Sweden is one of the countries we are looking at”, Dai Wenkai told The Swedish Wire during a tour at the company’s massive site in the outskirts of Shanghai, adding that also the Netherlands and Denmark are interesting locations.

Although the headquarter for ZPMC Europe is located in Amsterdam, the Chinese company may place the plant elsewhere as the Rotterdam port is considered busy; ships often have to queue up before docking.

“This is a plan, and we may make decision in the middle of 2011. But it’s subjected to the progress of current new offshore windfarm project in Europe”, Dai Wenkai said.

ZPMC has previous been involved in a North Sea wind power project, run by Scottish and Southern Energy.

The Swedish Port of Göteborg, the biggest port in the Nordic region, is using cranes from ZPMC. In 2005 the port bought three superpost-Panamax cranes for a total cost of 250 million kronor ($35 million) including electricity supply work and the laying of a new landside rail.

ZPMC also has long history of working together with ABB. Last year the Swedish power and automation group signed an agreement with the Chinese firm to jointly develop more efficient propulsion solutions for deep-sea offshore vessels.

Swedish-Dutch AkzoNobel is also a strategic partner with ZPMC, providing robust performance coating. Wind power is a growing area for Akzo Nobel.
Before the global economic downturn ZPMC, listed at the Fortune 500, grew by some 30 percent a year. Today it has an annual revenue of 4 billion dollars. In five years the revenue is expected to have doubled to 8 billion dollar, Dai Wenkai said.

ZPMC is the subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company, a state-owned infrastructure and engineering group listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.


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