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Wire Journal News

Lesjöfors, a European manufacturer of springs, pressings and wire parts, has acquired two Spirbelt Beheer B.V. subsidiaries—De Spiraal and Tribelt—in the Netherlands.

A press release said that De Spiraal is a manufacturer of technical springs and industrial wire products. Tribelt makes conveyor belts for a diversified customer base that includes the food, pharmaceutical and energy industries. The two companies are located in the same plant, which they moved to in 2015. The companies have annual revenues of approximately €14 million, mostly from the European market.

"De Spiraal and Tribelt are companies that fit well into Lesjöfors’s European platform, with a diversified customer base and opportunities for cross sales with our existing businesses," said Lesjöfors President Kjell-Arne Lindbäck.

With this latest deal, Lesjöfors, owned by Beijer Alma, has strengthened its position in Central Europe. The Group now consists of 26 production units in 13 countries.

Investors in a startup company that will manufacture insulated wire and cable announced that they plan to launch operations in Marshall County, Indiana.

Per a report by Inside Indiana Business, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said that the business, Sequel Wire and Cable LLC (Sequel), plans to begin operations early next year at the 50,000-sq-ft Argos Manufacturing Center in Argos.

The release cited Sequel co-founder James Merritt as saying that its long-term goal is to expand the new facility, tripling its size, with a total investment of some $54 million. The project is expected to create as many as 120 jobs by the end of 2024. Sequel will focus on using new technologies. It expects to have 26 employees by the end of 2020, adding more as the expansion is completed.

Drew Richards, CEO of RichardsApex, Inc., was re-elected as president of WCISA for a second, three-year term. Rahul Sachdev, executive vice president of Wire & Plastic Machinery Corp., is the immediate past president. Re-elected to new three-year terms as board members were David Braun, wire & cable industry manager, Teknor Apex Co.; Rob Fulop, president, Wire Lab Company; Dave Kiddoo, CEO/Director, IWCS, Inc.; Jay Luis, marketing manager, worldwide, NDC Technologies/Beta LaserMike; Gord Murray, director, QED Wire Lines Inc.; and John Zachow, vice president, wire & cable systems, Davis-Standard Corp. Each director will serve through the end of July 2022.

New board members were Mark Canrobert, vice president, industrial tapes, Chase Corporation; Timothy Copp, vice president business development, REELEX Packaging Solutions, Inc.; Paul Gemelli, executive vice president, Gem Gravure Co., Inc.; and Brian Holden, national accounts manager, Carris Reels. They will serve through July 2021. Board members whose terms have ended include Tom Copp, REELEX Packaging Solutions; Jim George, Chase NEPTCO; and Rene Mayer, Mosssberg Associates, Inc.

WCISA, a nonprofit corporate membership organization of North American-based suppliers of machinery, materials and accessories, promotes its members’ products and services with representation, networking/social opportunities and services at wire and cable trade events and conferences. For more details on WCISA companies, exhibits, outings and scholarships, go to www.wcisaonline.org.

The Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund, known as OYAK, has entered a deal through its Ataer Holding subsidiary, to acquire British Steel by the end of the year.

Per multiple media reports, OYAK signed an exclusive agreement on Aug. 16 to buy British Steel, which has some 5,000 employees and represents about a third of the U.K.’s steel production. The company's product lines include wire rod. The price was not disclosed, but several reports cited a figure of £70 million.

British Steel has operations in the U.K. that include the Scunthorpe steel works where 3,000 people work, and it employs another 800 in Teesside. Per a BBC report, those sites "are a major strategic asset to our country," said Gareth Stace, general secretary of UK Steel, a trade association.

The government’s Official Receiver said several bids had been received, and described the one from Ataer, Oyak’s investment arm, as its "preferred buyer," the BBC report said. It cited the Official Receiver as saying that, "I am pleased to say I have now received an acceptable offer from Ataer. ... I will be looking to conclude this process in the coming weeks, during which time British Steel continues to trade and supply its customers as normal."

Ataer owns nearly 50% of Erdemir, Turkey’s biggest steel producer, which employs 11,530 people.

Per a report in The Guardian, Oyak has told the U.K. government that "it wants to inject £900 million into the Scunthorpe steelworks to more than double its output."

A Platt report cited the following comments. "We, as OYAK, Turkey’s largest professional pension fund, believe in the importance of merging world league players into our group," said OYAK General Manager Süleyman Savas Erdem." Accordingly, we have achieved one of the biggest achievements of the Turkish steel industry and signed a preliminary agreement to buy the industrial giant of UK, British Steel. We will continue to evaluate opportunities globally inline with our growth-oriented vision and we will continue our investments to provide sustainable high benefit to our members.

Times Microwave Systems (TMS) has completed a major expansion of its operations in Mesa, Arizona, moving from a smaller plant to a new one that has 62,000 sq ft of space.

A press release said that investing in the larger facility was part of the company’s plan to support growth initiatives and more closely service key customers in the western U.S. Production is up and running, with a current staff of 65, and plans to hire an additional 95 employees over the next few years. TMS, a business of Amphenol, is in the same industrial park as other Amphenol companies. The inauguration was celebrated at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by city, state and company leaders.

TMS General Manager Bill Callahan said that the new operation was a step forward for the company. “It creates a manufacturing center of excellence in the Western U.S. that complements our Connecticut and Florida facilities, allowing us to more effectively service our customers coast to coast. This investment delivers increased capacity, additional capabilities and provides a risk mitigation measure to ensure uninterrupted manufacturing of our products.”

Nexans, a leader in advanced cabling systems, solutions and services, has completed the final test to qualify its state-of-the-art 420 kV XLPE subsea cable for installation at a world-record depth of 550 meters (1,804 ft).

A press release said that the cable testing, carried out by Nexans Norway, was done to meet a specific customer need. The cable is to be used for a project that requires a subsea power interconnector crossing Fensfjorden—a fjord close to Bergen in Norway—which is approximately eight km wide and 526 meters at its deepest point.

The Fensfjorden project is part of a broader plan by BKK Nett AS, one of Norway’s largest power companies, to strengthen the electrical grid in Western Norway. That plan includes a new 420-kV connection between Modalen-Mongstad that will ensure a stable and reliable power supply to over 420,000 residents, businesses and industry facilities throughout the region.

“We have every reason to be proud of what we have accomplished,” declared Nexans Project Manager Ivar Rolfstad. “We have pushed the technological boundaries and (beaten) our own previous world records!”

The new record tops the prior one that had been set by Nexans, for a 20-km 420 kV XLPE cable that was installed in water that was 390 meters deep in the fjord of Hjeltefjorden, Norway.

Nexans developed and produced the Fensfjorden cable at Nexans Norway facility in Halden. Installation on the bed of the fjord will be performed by a Nexans cable-laying vessel, the C/S Nexans Skagerrak, later in 2019, the release said.

 

Hubbell, which is based in Connecticut, announced that it will close two plants in the state over the next five to six months, and move that production to other locations.

A statement from the company said that it plans to close its plants in Newtown and Bethel, which would result in 194 jobs being cut. Per an article in The Newtown Bee, the Newtown location, which opened in 1960, “currently houses commercial and industrial wiring device manufacturing,” with about 140 employees there. The Bethel facility employs 54 people, according to a notice filed with the Department of Labor. Most of the work will move to a larger Hubbell facility in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. Most of the work at the Bethel plant, which Hubbell acquired in 2009, will move to another company plant in Alabama.

Per the article, Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said that he was told by a company official that the Newtown facility was in good condition, but that it was only operating at about 40% of capacity, manufacturing the exact same product line that was also being made at the Puerto Rico plant. He added that the same situation existed for the Bethel plant.

A company statement said that the closure of the Newtown and Bethel plants are “part of an ongoing operational efficiency initiative that involves Hubbell operations across the company.” In the article, officials for Hubbell, which is based in Shelton, Connecticut, note that the company still has 650 jobs in the state. Hubbell has offices and plant locations across the U.S. and globe, including Puerto Rico, China, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.

NKT announced that it has won a contract from Energinet and National Grid to supply power cable for the Viking Link interconnector project that will connect Danish and British transmission grids.

A press release said that the order from the owners of Viking Link, worth approximately €90 million, will see NKT provide approximately 150 km of 525 kV MI high-voltage DC onshore power cables. The NKT power cables will be manufactured in Karlskrona, Sweden, with production expected to start in 2020. The power cable will run from the Denmark shore to the power grid substation in Revsing, southern Jutland.

NKT Interim CEO Roland Andersen said that the Viking Link is a key project for the North-European transformation towards renewable energy supplies. "The award is a recognition of our technological competences also in the growing extra high-voltage interconnector segment from Energinet and National Grid."

The release said that when completed, the760-km long DC interconnector line will help balance wind production and demand across countries, and closer integration between transmission grids is important for the efficient transition towards a green energy future. Implementation of Viking Link is a vital step towards achieving ambitious renewable targets in both Denmark and the U.K. The interconnector line is scheduled for commissioning in 2023.

The Prysmian Group, a world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, has been awarded a contract from National Grid Viking Link Limited and Energinet to supply the majority of the power cable that will be needed for Viking Link, the first submarine cable connection between the U.K. and Denmark.

A press release said that the contract for Prysmian, worth close to €700 million, includes the turn-key design, manufacture and installation of the world’s longest interconnector. The project will require 1,250 km cable for the submarine route, and some 135 km of the land cables for the U.K. side. A separate related award for land cables was issued to NKT.

The High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) interconnector will operate at ± 525 kV DC. It will allow up to 1,400 MW of power to be transferred between the two countries, passing through U.K., Dutch, German and Danish waters, using single-core, mass-impregnated paper-insulated cables. The system will connect the converter station located at Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire, U.K., to the converter station located at Revsing in southern Jutland, Denmark.

"This project further confirms our undisputed market and technology leadership," said Hakan Ozmen, EVP Projects, Prysmian Group.

Prysmian plans to manufacture all cables for the project at its operations in Arco Felice, Italy, with the offshore cable operations to be carried out by its new installation vessel. Jointly owned by Energinet and National Grid, the Viking Link interconnector project is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2023.

"We are proud to have the opportunity to support two of our most important customers, National Grid and Energinet, in the development of such a strategic infrastructure, which will represent a milestone for the upgrade of the entire EU power transmission grid," said Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista.

Germany’s Leoni announced that it is considering plans to either sell or float a stock market listing for its Wire and Cables Solutions (WCS) business, based on a broad review of the company’s group structure, and a decision to focus on its Wiring Systems Division (WSD).

A press release said that the company had considered the optimal future ownership structure of both the WCS and its Wiring Systems Division (WSD) to determine how both divisions could achieve their full potential.

The WCS serves a wide range of growing end markets, such as healthcare, factory automation, transportation and automotive. The release noted that with its LEONiQ technology, "WCS is well positioned to become the front runner for intelligent cable solutions."

The WSD, which supplies engineered cables and interconnect solutions, and is anchored by the automotive field, "is on the way to sell not only products, but increasingly provide services in engineering, architectural design and simulation," the release said.

Leoni’s Board of Directors found very limited synergies between both divisions, and intends to increase their operational independence, the release said. In this context, corporate support functions will transfer from the holding company to the divisions.

"We believe that both divisions will benefit from a separation," said Leoni Chief Executive Aldo Kamper. "This creates two clearly focused businesses, whose individual market and technological developments as well as investments can be better and more quickly implemented."

The decision to separate WCS from the group and focus resources on WSD will strengthen our ability to further strategically develop this business, Kamper said. "This would create two clearly focused businesses, whose  individual market and technological developments as well as investments can be better and more quickly
implemented."

With its focus on WSD, Leoni expects to be in a better position to focus on operational improvements and continue to build on its leading position in automotive wiring systems. It could concentrate its resources on being a global solutions provider for the automotive sector while seeking emerging opportunities on the energy and data side. With its WSD becoming a systems supplier and development partner to its customers, Leoni is on the way to sell not only products, but increasingly provide services in engineering, architectural design and simulation.

Bruno Fankhauser, a member of the Board of Directors of Leoni with responsibility for the WCS division, agreed that the split made sense. "We have shown strong growth in recent years and have maintained a leading position as a provider of intelligent cable solutions and services. With today’s decision, we want to put the WCS division in a position to realize its full potential more quickly with a different ownership structure."

While either a sale or stock market exit is envisioned, a partial sale is also possible, the release said. "To date, no final decision has been taken in this regard. However, following a potential separation, Leoni’s primary focus would be on the development of its WSD division. To this end, Leoni has begun to mandate respective advisors."

The company notes that implementation of its VALUE 21 program is on track to achieve sustainable gross cost savings targets of €500 million per year by 2022, with 75% of the savings expected to be realized in WSD.

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