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Superior Essex, a global leader in the magnet wire and communication cables industry and a majority owner of the Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire joint venture with Furukawa Electric, announced that it has agreed to take over the remaining minority interest held by Furukawa Electric in Essex Furukawa.

A press release said that when the transaction is completed, Superior Essex will become the sole owner of the brand, assets and operations currently conducted by the global Essex Furukawa joint venture. Superior Essex plans to relaunch its magnet wire business under a new company name this year. This entity will continue to operate all current facilities of the Essex Furukawa joint venture around the world, which includes the Japanese and Malaysian (Kuala Lumpur) magnet wire facilities contributed by Furukawa Electric in October 2020.

“I want to thank the entire Furukawa Electric team,” Superior Essex CEO Daniel Choi said. “Over the last several years—operating together as Essex Furukawa—we have been able to create many successes.”

The collaboration between Superior Essex and Furukawa Electric in Essex Furukawa began in October 2020, with the aim of leveraging their combined experience and knowledge to drive innovation and deliver manufacturing excellence, technological advancement, and outstanding customer service.

The acquisition of Furukawa Electric’s minority interest in Essex Furukawa marks an important milestone for Superior Essex as it takes full control of its global operations and strengthens its commitment to delivering exceptional products and services to its customers worldwide.

Superior Essex is the parent brand of Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire, Superior Essex Communications, Essex Energy Italy, IVA, Lacroix + Kress, Hi-Wire, and Essex Brownell. It has over 3,000 employees in 11 countries, on three continents. Furukawa Electric Group has 127 group companies including Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., and approximately 50,000 employees around the world.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

Arcole, a French private equity fund, has made a majority investment in Setic in partnership with longstanding shareholder and CEO Thierry Collard, who will continue in his current role.

A press release said that the investment will present a new phase of growth for Setic, a global leader in designing and manufacturing machinery for the wire and cable industry that is based in France in Roanne and Paris. The strategic investment aims at accelerating Setic’s development and enables a drastic deleveraging. “The company is thus in a very good position to capitalize on the favorable market trends anticipated in the coming years.”

Setic will fully embrace its role as a French industrial leader at the service of energy transition. The first steps on this path include enhancing the sales structure of the U.S. subsidiary, upgrading facilities in Roanne with new R&D capabilities, and rebranding the group as “Setic Pourtier” on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, combining the legacy of both historical brands. The presence of Arcole will not have an impact on customers.

Collard said that he was pleased with the deal. “I am delighted to have secured the redeployment of Setic Pourtier, keeping ownership in French hands and ensuring a promising future for our team while consolidating our growth trajectory that has taken us from a period of crisis to outstanding financial performance in just two years,” he said.

“We are thrilled about this investment, that gives Arcole the opportunity to support an industrial company with a French footprint and a global reach, based on a century-long legacy of technical excellence and innovation,” said Arcole Managing Partner Renaud Sueur. “I am very happy to partner with Thierry Collard, the CEO of Setic Pourtier, whose experience and knowledge of the market have been decisive in our will to invest in the Group.”

Bekaert and Edison Next have signed a 12-year on-site solar power purchase agreement (PPA) at the Bekaert plant in Sardinia, Italy.

A press release said that the 6.1 MW solar installation marks another major milestone in Bekaert’s sustainability strategy, Creating a Better Tomorrow. The PPA will see the installation of a photovoltaic system at the Bekaert plant in the province of Cagliari, Sardinia. The solar installation is capable of meeting more than 20% of the plant’s current energy requirements.

The photovoltaic system at the Sardinia plant will be completed and operative in 2025. Edison Next will finance, develop and manage the installation. Covering an area of about 23,000 sq m, the system is designed to produce more than 11.2 GWh a year and reduce annual emissions of about 3,000 metric tons of CO₂. Bekaert Sardinia expects to self-consume 93% of the renewable electricity generated.

“This state-of-the-art solar project at Bekaert’s Sardinia plant incorporates trackers that follow the path of the sun to optimize renewable energy production,” said Michael Hamilton, VP Procurement Commodities Category at Bekaert. “It will accelerate our sustainability ambitions as well as make us less dependent on energy price inflation. Since opening the solar plant in Burgos, Spain, last year this marks a next milestone to achieve the goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 46.2% by 2030.”

“We are proud to be able to contribute to the sustainability goals of Bekaert, one of the Italian, European and global leaders in the steel sector,” said Marco Steardo, Industry Director of Edison Next. “The development of this large photovoltaic system in fact marks an important step in the decarbonization path of Bekaert Sardinia and the Bekaert Group in general towards their ambition of net zero by 2050.”

Last modified on May 3, 2024

South Korea’s Taihan Cable & Solution announced that it plans to set up a specialized test facility for HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) cable at one of its main production sites in Dangjin.

A press release said that the dedicated test facility will be built on approximately 7,000 sq m of unused land at the Dangjin plant, which is one of Taihan’s main production sites. The construction aims to be completed within the first quarter of next year. Taihan plans to equip the facility to be able to simultaneously test two lines of HVDC cables, including both land and submarine cables. Specifically, the facility will be capable of conducting long-term reliability tests (PQ Test), which can take more than a year, and Temporary Over Voltage (TOV) tests, recently adopted as a mandatory test item for international HVDC cables. This will complete the infrastructure needed to perform internationally recognized certifications.

In other news, Taihan Cable & Solution reported on Feb. 22 that it had won a project for a 500 kV EHV power project from the Electric Power Systems Engineering Company, a joint venture of the Egyptian government. The project involves linking an existing substation and a new HVDC converter station in the Badr region, located in the northeast of Egypt, with underground power cables. Taihan will supply 500 kV HVAC cables and oversee the project management.

“With this order, Taihan has made its first entry into the Egyptian EHV market,” the release said. It noted that 500kV is the highest voltage used in Egypt. “Taihan succeeded in pioneering the market, breaking through the competition not only with local companies but also with leading global companies.”

Last modified on May 3, 2024

Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Limited Company (YOFC) recently completed the acquisition of RFS Germany and RFS Suzhou (RFS, Radio Frequency Systems), which it described as a landmark event in its strategy for global expansion.

A press release said that the transaction was celebrated with a handover ceremony featuring a video address by YOFC President and Executive Director Dan Zhuang. Senior Vice President Lijing Zhou, Vice President Lei Nie, and Senior Human Resources Director Xing Fan were among the key attendees. The takeover represents another crucial step in YOFC’s global expansion, poised to significantly enhance its overseas production capacity and drive forward the development of the international cable market.

YOFC is a leading supplier of optical fiber preforms, fibers and cables as well as offering comprehensive integrated solutions. It supplies optical fibers and cables that are crucial to the communications industry as well as custom-made optical transceivers, specialty fibers, active optical cables, submarine cables, radio-frequency (RF) coaxial cables and accessories to meet the unique needs of its customers. On Feb. 27, it reported that the company had delivered 1 billion fkm of optical fiber.

YOFC has recently expanded its portfolio through the strategic acquisition of RFS Germany and RFS Suzhou, collectively known for their substantial international brand presence and strong customer base. The two entities excel in the R&D, manufacturing, and distribution of specialized RF cables, leakage cables, hybrid cables, and other related telecommunications infrastructure products. Their offerings are critical to a broad spectrum of industries, notably in rail transportation and base station infrastructure. The integration of these acquisitions into YOFC’s operations is set to create a synergistic boost in production capabilities and market outreach, enhancing the company’s competitive edge.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

Nexans announced that it has secured a four-year contract from Norwegian energy giant Equinor for turnkey repair services of various cable systems.

A press release said that the agreement will secure the availability of Nexans’ unique and extensive repair expertise that covers all types of existing cables. The contract includes assistance from a team of Nexans experts and the provision of a vessel to meet the intervention requirements. Equinor will manage and operate the contract on behalf of the Pipeline Repair and Subsea Intervention (PRSI) Pool members. The PRSI pool consists of 23 energy companies that cover their offshore pipeline and power cable repair contingency via the pool. The agreement covers approximately 3,000 km of cable and could be broadened.

To ensure Equinor’s assets’ normal functioning, Nexans will provide its unique expertise of performing complex turnkey repairs on all types of cables (XLPE, mass impregnated or oil-filled cables). In the case of a cable system failure, Nexans will offer its expertise in installing and maintaining submarine cable systems by mobilizing highly skilled teams to assess the fault and perform any necessary repairs.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

Google announced that it plans to make a $1 billion investment to further expand its Central Pacific Connect Initiative, which includes delivering two new subsea cables, Proa and Taihei.

A press release said that the partners for the two new cable systems include Japanese telecom operators KDDI and ARTERIA, the Private Equity firm Citadel Pacific, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). NEC will deliver both cable systems.

Per the release, Proa, which is named after the traditional sailing canoes of the Mariana Islands, will become the first of two subsea cables to land in the CNMI as it crosses between Japan, Guam and the U.S. In addition to Proa, the Taiwan-Philippines-U.S. (TPU) cable, which is also owned by Google, will be extended to the CNMI.

The Tabua cable, which is to be supplied by SubCom and be operational in 2026, will now be extended to Hawaii. It will add an extra stop on its route from the U.S. to Fiji and Australia. The Central Pacific Connect initiative was launched in October 2023, with the Honomoana and Tabua cables announced as the first two projects. Earlier this year Google expanded the initiative with the announcement of the Bulikula and Halaihai cables.

In addition to its cables connecting East Asia with the west coast of the U.S., Google will fund construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam in the Pacific. This interlink will connect the transpacific routes, improving their reliability and reducing latency for users in the Pacific Islands and around the world.

Google and KDDI have a long history of collaboration on submarine cables, including cable landings in Japan. CEO Makoto Takahashi said he was delighted his firm was partnering once again with Google.

Until Google’s Topaz cable arrived in Takahagi, the region had not had a new cable land for twenty years. ARTERIA supported the landing of Topaz and leveraging the same landing facilities will expand its partnership with Google to support the new cable. “Connectivity between Tokyo, the heart of the Internet in Japan, and overseas has been concentrated in Minamiboso,” said Tatsuya Abe, CEO of ARTERIA Corporation. He noted that the Ibaraki region, which includes Takahagi where the Taihei cable will land, has been somewhat neglected.

Citadel Pacific owns IT&E, the largest wireless provider in Micronesia. Citadel Pacific CEO Jim Beighley said the new cables would allow IT&E to deliver significantly expanded internet services to the residents of the islands it serves. “The CNMI will be directly connected to international networks for the first time in history,” he said.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

AFL recently reported that it plans to invest more than $50 million to expand its fiber optic cable manufacturing operations in South Carolina.

A press release said that the investment aligns with the Biden-Harris administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Internet for All initiatives to increase broadband access in the U.S. It will result in the creation of new jobs and support AFL’s portfolio of products compliant with the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA).

The investment will be used to increase production capacity and support the development of new fiber optic cable solutions. The announcement builds on AFL’s previous investment of more than $35 million in the expansion of domestic cable manufacturing to support broadband deployment and modernization of the power grid. The expansions continue AFL’s four-decade long commitment to job creation and U.S. manufacturing.

Key highlights of the latest expansion include increased production capacity to meet the surging demand for fiber optic cable; creation of new jobs at AFL’s manufacturing facilities, boosting the local economy; development of innovative and sustainable fiber optic cable solutions; and a commitment to using U.S.-made materials and supporting the domestic supply chain.

AFL CEO and President Jaxon Lang said that the news reflects the company’s focus on providing products that are essential for multiple goals. “This expansion highlights AFL’s commitment to providing an end-to-end BABA-compliant cable and connectivity portfolio for our valued U.S. customers and represents a significant milestone toward AFL’s ongoing contribution to a stronger, more connected future for all communities across the country.”

Founded in 1984 and cased in Spartanburg, South Carolina, AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. Its products are in use in more than 130 countries.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

LS Eco Energy—a subsidiary of South Korea’s LS Cable & System—announced that it has signed a business agreement with the Institute of Energy of Vietnam (IEV) under the Vietnam Electricity Authority (EVN) for a superconducting cable project. Of note, LS Cable & System Asia changed its name to LS Eco Energy to pursue new businesses in submarine cables and rare-earth elements.

Per an article at businesskorea.co.kr, the two parties plan to establish a cooperative system to apply superconducting cables to the Vietnamese power grid and explore business opportunities. Superconducting cables, first commercialized domestically by LS Cable in 2019, use the superconducting phenomenon where electrical resistance disappears at low temperatures, maximizing transmission efficiency. In case of power expansion due to overload, replacing the cable alone can increase transmission capacity by more than five times.

When building new cities, the construction cost of electrical ducts, which are about three meters high, can be reduced to less than 1/20th by replacing them with conduits approximately one meter in size. The technology minimizes environmental impact by needing fewer and smaller substations and transmission towers.

Per IEV, Vietnam is set to face a surge in power demand and consumption over the coming decade, which will have an impact on its energy security. The government of Vietnam expects power consumption to grow 10-12 % annually through 2030, one of the fastest power consumption growth rates in Asia.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

NKT plans to invest up to €100 million in additional production capacity and capabilities at its medium-voltage factories in Denmark, Sweden and Czech Republic to meet growing demand from customers for medium-voltage power cables required for grid upgrades and renewable energy projects across Europe.

A press release said that the medium-voltage power cable market has grown steadily in recent years driven by the transition to renewable energy and the continued electrification of societies. Electrical grid operators are in the process of conducting major upgrade projects to keep apace. In response, NKT is investing in additional medium-voltage capacity and capabilities spread across three of its production sites in Asnaes, Denmark; Falun, Sweden; and Velke Meziříčí, Czech Republic. The investments in Falun and Velke Meziříčí have started while the investment in Asnaes is now initiated.

“NKT is well positioned ... to strengthen our position as a key partner to our customers in the green transition of societies,” said NKT EVP Head of Applications Carlos Fernandez. “As more renewable projects come online, a major upgrade of the European power grid is needed. Current medium-voltage production and installation capacity is not sufficient to meet the increasing demand in the market. The investments will support NKTs continued growth journey in line with our strategic ambitions and enable vital grid upgrades and renewables projects across Europe.”

In recent years, the Applications business line has optimized its factory footprint across geographies to increase efficiency and specialization. With this process successfully completed, focus has shifted towards expansion of the medium-voltage sites. The investments will add 20-110 kV production capacity and capabilities and further progress layout optimizations of the factories.

The investments across the three sites will strengthen NKTs market leading position. The new production capacity is anticipated to be progressively operational in 2025 and 2026 and the investments will lead to the additional recruitment of around 150 new colleagues. The investments are expected to support NKT’s medium-term financial ambitions including delivering RoCE above 20%.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

South Korea’s Taihan Cable & Solution Co. reports that it has been awarded a project worth more than $80 million for replacement of an outdated power grid in the U.S.

Per a press release and multiple media reports, including The Korea Economic Daily, the project is designed to replace the aging power infrastructure with a new one in the southeastern state of Florida in anticipation of increasing power demand in the region. Taihan will be removing existing cables and supplying a 230 kV EHV power grid as a full turnkey service.

The press release said that winning the bid was helped by having a proven track record in executing projects in the U.S. Its proposal for the replacement of aging power grids was instrumental in moving the project forward. For the New York project secured last year, a unique installation method with a U.S. patent was introduced to showcase laying technology tailored to the urban environment.

By securing this deal, the company has brought its cumulative order value for the year to more than US$145 billion in the U.S. alone. “In just one quarter, Taihan has already achieved half of its record annual orders in the U.S. from fiscal year 2022 of nearly $290 million. While rising electricity consumption and the expansion of renewable energy sources are driving an increase in the demand for power networks across the U.S., over 50% of the existing transmission infrastructure has surpassed 40 years of service, exceeding its life cycle, giving rise to strong anticipation of additional orders to follow.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

News of Prysmian’s April 15 agreement to acquire Encore Wire for approximately $3.9 billion—the largest-ever such wire and cable industry deal—quickly circulated on the opening day of wire Düsseldorf in Germany, where some attendees were utterly stunned by the unexpected report.

A press release said that the addition of Encore Wire’s huge vertically integrated, single-site campus in McKinney, Texas, that produces a broad range of copper and aluminum electrical wire and cables, is highly complementary to Prysmian’s strategy. It “will allow Prysmian to increase its exposure to secular growth drivers, enhance its exposure to North America, leverage Encore Wire’s operational efficiency and best in class service across Prysmian’s portfolio, broaden Prysmian’s product offering enabling the combined company to better address customers’ needs in North America and generate ~€140m in run-rate EBITDA synergies expected within four years from closing.”

Massimo Battaini, Prysmian designated Group CEO, described the deal as a landmark moment. “Through this acquisition, Prysmian will grow its North American presence, enhancing its portfolio and geographic mix, while significantly increasing the exposure to secular growth drivers. We look forward to welcoming the Encore Wire team to Prysmian and benefitting from the combined company’s enhanced product offerings and customer relationships.”

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that reflects the remarkable value Encore Wire has created with our expansive single-campus model, low-cost production, centralized distribution and product innovation,” said Daniel L. Jones, Encore Wire’s chairman, president and CEO. “Encore Wire and Prysmian are two highly complementary organizations, and we anticipate a bright future for Encore Wire as part of Prysmian. ... As part of a larger, global operation, we expect this transaction will bring additional future opportunities for our employees, whose dedication and hard work made this transaction possible. We look forward to working with Prysmian to complete this value-enhancing combination and realize the significant benefits that we expect it will bring to all of our stakeholders.”

The transaction, which was unanimously approved by each company’s Board of Directors and recommended to its shareholders by Encore Wire’s Board of Directors, is expected to close in the second half of 2024. The sale is subject to the approval of Encore Wire’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

At wire Düsseldorf, some attendees questioned the fit between the two entities, each of which is very successful, yet having different business approaches. Of note, Prysmian—founded in 2005 through the acquisition of the energy and telecom cables and system activities of Pirelli—does have a track record of making periodic major acquisitions. That includes the 2011 purchase of Draka Holding for €840 million and the 2017 purchase of General Cable for approximately $3 billion.

Last modified on May 3, 2024

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