Howden Acquires Thomassen Compression Systems BV

March 29, 2011

4 Min Read
Howden Acquires Thomassen Compression Systems BV

Howden has announced it has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of Thomassen Compression Systems BV ("Thomassen"). The acquisition complements Howden’s existing range of compressors and opens up a much wider market for the company in the oil & gas and petrochemical industries.

Howden, one of the world’s largest and longest established manufacturers of air and gas handling equipment, recently announced strong financial results for 2010 despite the global economic background. This acquisition represents a real boost for the Renfrew-headquartered multinational as it builds its compressor businesses worldwide and moves into new markets.

Howden and Thomassen have very similar core competencies in the application engineering of custom designed, high technology products for performance critical environments. Howden designs, engineers, and supplies air and gas handling equipment including industrial fans, process gas compressors, and rotary heat exchangers.

The compressor range, which includes screw, centrifugal turbo, diaphragm, and horizontal piston compressors, is an increasingly important part of Howden’s global portfolio. Accounting for over 17% of its £562 million turnover in 2010, Howden’s compressors are used for a variety of applications, especially in the oil & gas and petrochemical industries.

Thomassen, based in the Netherlands, focuses on the design, assembly, installation, and servicing of custom-made horizontal piston compressors. Like the Howden range, these compressors are highly-engineered, large scale products, but with pressures up to 600 bar and power capability up to 25MW, they are designed for high power applications, primarily in the oil refining and petrochemical industries.

In recent years, Thomassen’s main markets have been across Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. The company has approximately 280 employees mainly based in the Netherlands with the remainder located in service centers and sales offices around the world. The primary application for high specification horizontal piston compressors is the compression of hydrogen. Both Howden and Thomassen are leaders in this market with Howden’s range and experience being primarily for lower powers of up to 1MW and Thomassen’s range and experience being for higher power ranges.

Thomassen will continue to operate from its premises at Rheden as a stand-alone business within Howden. The senior management team, led by managing director Frans Bisseling, has indicated that they intend to stay with the company following the acquisition and Thomassen’s integration into the Howden group will be overseen by a team led by Bob Cleland (Howden chief executive) and Ian Brander (Howden operations director).

The combination of Howden and Thomassen creates a global company capable of supplying a comprehensive range of hydrogen compressors including a full suite of piston compressors with capability up to 25MW and 600 bar and diaphragm compressors with capability up to 3000 bar. This is expected to bring market opportunities not currently available to either company. Significant benefits will come from Howden’s ability to extend Thomassen’s presence in China and other markets where sales have been limited, and from Thomassen sharing access to Howden’s global sourcing capabilities.

The acquisition will continue to diversify Howden’s business and make it less reliant on the supply of new equipment to the coal-fired power industry, which provided 24 per cent of revenue in 2010 compared with 42 per cent in 2005. The compressor products are expected to account for over 25% of Howden’s revenue after this acquisition.
Thomassen’s aftermarket sales, arising primarily from its worldwide installed base of over 2500 compressor cylinders - of which slightly over half are located in Europe, around a quarter in Asia, and the remainder predominantly in South America and Africa - currently account for around one-third of revenues.
For the financial year ended December 31, 2010, Thomassen had revenues of €143.4 million (GBP £125.6 million) and an order book worth €133.1 million.
“I am absolutely delighted with this acquisition which adds a major range of complementary products to our compressor portfolio. It increases our activities in the refining and petrochemical sectors, which have been underweight compared to our core market of power generation,” said Cleland. “It is part of our strategy to widen our range of products used in performance critical applications in key global infrastructure industries. This acquisition reinforces Howden’s position as a significant part of Scottish engineering, a sector which continues to play a leading role in the country’s economy.”
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