Merger of strength
In early 2007the Wärtsilä companies in Norway were integrated to form one company, Wärtsilä Norway AS.
The merging of Wärtsilä Propulsion, Wärtsilä Norway, and Wärtsilä Automation, which became part of Wärtsilä in 2006, means that the newly formed Wärtsilä in Norway now offers a broad range of marketleading complete propulsion solutions, to major clients throughout the oil and gas industry.
Arne Birkeland, previously president of Wärtsilä Automation, and newly appointed president of Wärtsilä Norway AS elaborates on the acquisition of Wärtsilä Automation in 2006, and the subsequent formation of Wärtsilä in Norway: “Wärtsilä acquired the Norwegian automation business, which was a combined engineering and systems supply company working with electrical equipment, electrical propulsion systems and automation systems, from Aker Kvaerner in March 2006. The company manufactures advanced technologies in automation products and drives, and is capable of offering complete packages for oil and gas vessels and platforms.”
Arne believes that the addition of the automation business significantly expanded Wärtsilä’s capabilities: “It was the glue between the different hardware components, such as thrusters, gears, propellers, and engines within Wärtsilä, and it means that the company can now provide a total solution, from the power station on the vessel or the platform, to the electrical and automation systems, and right through to the propulsion system.
“One of Wärtsilä’s key strengths is our ability to be a total solutions provider,” Arne continues. “Many of our competitors have to do this through joint ventures or co-operation with other businesses, whereas major industry customers can approach Wärtsilä knowing that we have the full offering, and that we take full responsibility for the interface of all the different products and technologies that are in the system.”
Wärtsilä in Norway supplies its products to a number of major industry clients, and places considerable emphasis on close co-operation with them throughout a project: “We are present in a number of areas in the Norwegian sector, and we are a key player in the provision of systems to drilling rigs in Singapore and Korea,” says Arne. “We work very closely with our customers in making bespoke products. When we developed our automation systems we cooperated heavily with many Norwegian ship owners, and we are currently working with our clients to move further into drilling operations.”
Arne explains that Wärtsilä maintains its industry leading position through focusing heavily on R&D: “Continuous development is a key focus for us. Wärtsilä is renowned as a technology leader, and we do a great deal of innovation in all areas that we operate in each year. Our customers see us as an advanced company in terms of the latest technology, and also as a very strong service partner.”
He elaborates on some of the company’s recent launches: “We are soon to release a completely new range of vessel automation systems for use on board smaller vessels. This has been a core area that Wärtsilä has been working on in their engine and thrusters designs, and last year we started to develop an automation system for that package.
“Additionally, we have a very strong cooperation with Emerson Process Management, in which we are delivering a complete safety and automation system for oil and gas operations, such as FPSOs and drilling rigs,” Arne continues. “In addition to this, we are continuously looking to further develop our engines and thrusters for all market sectors.”
Together with market-leading products and systems, the company offers its customers a considerable after-sales services: “A great deal of emphasis in Wärtsilä is placed on services activities,” says Arne. “We have service operations in over 70 countries worldwide and a large proportion of the company’s employees are involved in services activities. We are currently focusing on expanding these operations into the emerging oil and gas sectors such as Brazil and West Africa, and to being able to service other vendor’s products.”
Arne explains that expansion is a key part of Wärtsilä’s future strategy: “We are definitely looking at how to grow the business further, whether it is through organic growth or acquisitions is undecided, but Wärtsilä has been acquiring other businesses in a number of sectors already. We are in a very good position at the moment, the market is strong, particularly in shipping and the oil and gas industry, and we have a strong orderbook for 2007 up to 2010.
“At Wärtsilä in Norway we are strongly linked to the shipping business, and our ambition is to continue growing also in the automation sector. Additionally, there will be considerable investment in the complex manufacture of gears and propellers to increase our capacity in this area, and to develop further in the oil and gas market. We aim to be present in all of the areas where we see the new growth, such as South East Asia. I can see a strong growth based on the fact that we are part of such a global company as Wärtsilä,” Arne concludes.
Wärtsilä Norway AS