— Kjell Ekermo- Bussiness area manager for NIBE Climate Solutions
WASN’T ONE ENERTECH ENOUGH?
The intention to acquire a majority stake in the wellknown British company, Enertech Group, was announced at the beginning of autumn. This came after the acquisition of part of the Swedish company, Air Site AB, and the major acquisition of the American Climate Control Group in the first six months of the year. First, the deal has to be approved by the Swedish Competition Authority in accordance with usual practice before we can welcome our industry colleagues to NIBE. CTC and Bentone are among the most widly-known brands in the Swedish domestic market, and total operations are made up of six companies in six European countries with several brands. So eventually we’ll be represented in Europe with one Enertech and we are already established in the United States with another. Although they have different backgrounds, they share a passion to generate product solutions that deliver energy-efficient indoor comfort.
Our new american colleagues in the Climate Control Group were welcomed to NIBE during a week in the holiday period when we visited the six production plants in Oklahoma City and met all the employees. It was a resoundingly positive experience that included personal presentations of Swedish NIBE and our North American ambitions for the future. Lots of questions generated lots of answers and it’s quite clear that we are now in a stronger position to take on the challenge of expanding our operations, particularly in the larger real estate side of the business. We were also able to gather the majority of the most knowledgeable persons in the American industry at an important meeting on the future held in August. The aim was to further strengthen our activities to speed up the conversion of old technology based on gas and oil. The day after leaving Oklahoma, we heard there had been a minor earthquake in the area. Like many other similar earth movements, it was most likely triggered by a major fracking operation. Fracking is an environmentally controversial technique used to extract natural gas from under the ground. We look forward to the day when the USA seriously adopts stateof-the-art, environmentally-friendly heat pump technology to utilise solar energy stored in the ground. We’re ready and waiting for that to happen.
Here at home, the summer holidays began with a great surprise when it was announced that the Swedish Competition Authority (KKV) was withdrawing its appeal of the District Court’s ruling in the so-called district heating case in Växjö. Opinions on district heating and heat pumps can certainly vary, but there is no doubt that the behaviour of the municipality of Växjö puts competition completely out of the question. We doubt that we’ve heard the last word on this subject and are hoping that the end customer will still be able to choose freely.
Growth figures for small new-build homes in Sweden continue to look good and increasing numbers of satisfied customers are using our exhaust air heat pumps. It is satisfying to note the market’s glowing response to the NIBE F2120, our new air-to-water heat pump, which has already proved very popular in Sweden and internationally. Our plant in Markaryd has been kept busy by the steadily increasing demand from the market. As far as other heat pumps are concerned, the market is generally stable and we are looking forward to the autumn period being as intense as the spring season.
NIBE acquires CTC — WANTS THE WHOLE WORLD TO DISCOVER HEAT PUMPS
The Swedish heating industry is currently buzzing about NIBE’s acquisition of CTC, which is part of the British Enertech Group. The goal with the acquisition is more than just growth, however. It is also about creating a united force that will improve the market’s understanding of heat pumps. That all countries will be as good as Sweden when it comes to sustainable heating.
“NIBE purchases CTC”. The big news announced in September came as something of a bombshell to the Swedish heating industry. A merger between two giants of the industry.
What are the plans?
What will happen with the brands, jobs and everything else? Kjell Ekermo, Business Area Manager for NIBE Climate Solutions, has a clear view of the situation.
“This is about something much bigger than two Swedish companies. Although it might sound pretentious, what this is really about is a global vision. We all have a duty to do everything we can to spread information about how we can live in a more sustainable and energy-efficient way.
Kjell explains how companies like NIBE and CTC have helped Sweden develop unique expertise in the creation of comfortable indoor conditions using renewable energy. In terms of technical know-how and also strategic marketing.
“Swedish homeowners have taken heat pumps to their hearts nowadays, which means that we’ve made greater progress towards sustainable heating than almost any other country and that our expertise is possibly world-leading.
Today, Sweden is considered top-of-theclass when it comes to energy efficiency and environmentally-appropriate heating. Emissions of greenhouse gases, and carbon dioxide in particular, would decrease significantly globally if more countries used a corresponding percentage of heat pumps.
“Internationally, climate-smart heating is in its infancy. Gas, oil and direct electricity are still the dominant forms of energy and are supported by large stakeholders with massive resources. Heat pumps account for a tiny percentage.”
“If we’re going to get the world to act as sensibly as the Nordic countries, it’s essential that more strong stakeholders work together rather than wasting energy competing with one another. Our goal with every acquisition we make is not just to become a larger company but to spread our message and our solutions. It may sound boastful, but what’s good for NIBE is good for the environment.”
NOT YET FINALISED
Although the deal was announced in September, it has not yet been finalised. Since it involves a Swedish and a German company, which are both strong in their field, the competition authorities of both the countries have to grant approval.
“This means that we’re more or less not allowed to talk business with one another while the authorities are dealing with the matter,” Kjell explains. We can’t discuss our ideas and visions for the future either. Basically, there’s not much we can do jointly until the necessary approval has been obtained.
“Obviously, we know that CTC are extremely good at what they do, which is why we want them on board as part of our team. We’ll soon be working in more detail on concrete plans for the future. It’s a journey we’re looking forward to with great anticipation.
On 28 September, NIBE Industrier AB announced that it had signed an agreement to buy a majority stake in the British manufacturer, Enertech Group. The acquisition encompasses six operations in six European countries and will be incorporated into the NIBE Climate Solutions business area. Ljungby-based CTC, which has been in business since 1923, is the best known of the acquired operations. Enertech has some 460 employees in total. In 2015, it generated sales of SEK 830 million. The acquisition is pending the approval of the Swedish and German competition authorities and decisions are expected before the end of the year.
”HELLO! REMEMBER ME?”
NIBE has launched a new commercial in which we hear a heat pump expressing concern for our planet and the environment. It aims to emphasise the key role that heat pumps play in helping reduce environmental impacts, says Magnus Axelsson, Marketing Communications Manager at NIBE.
It doesn’t blow its own horn much, but it does a huge and important job when it comes to getting society to make the transition to renewable energy.
An international climate conference was held this spring for all subsidiaries in the NIBE Climate Solutions business area. The message was clear — NIBE needs to show visionary leadership in spreading climate-smart technology throughout the world and thus be instrumental in building a sustainable future.
Most people are aware that a heat pump saves money, says Magnus.
“What they perhaps don’t think about so much is that every installed heat pump is working faithfully day-in and day-out to minimise our carbon footprint and environmental impact. This is the message we’re putting across in this video.
NIBE has been working on sustainability for decades and this has contributed significantly to Sweden being well ahead when it comes to climate-smart energy solutions. The market is also focusing more on environmental awareness and a sustainable approach as consumers are increasingly taking a global responsibility and not simply buying products that bring savings to household bills.
“Owning an electric car is a status symbol these days,” Magnus says. So is having solar panels on your roof. It’s quite common to have a meat-free day once a week and it almost causes physical pain to throw refundable bottles into the rubbish bin…
“It’s fantastic that working at NIBE makes us part of the solution. It’s high time that we let this be known!”
Watch and download the video: www.nibe.se/hello
FLEXATOR & NIBE – a flexible partnership
We’re hearing a lot these days about modular buildings for schools, student accommodation and offices. However, choosing a heating system for buildings that can be moved and resized is not a simple matter. This is where Flexator, one of the oldest operators in the industry, is able to offer really workable solutions.
Flexator is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The company is a manufacturer of modular buildings and its industrially produced business premises include provisional solutions and buildings designed to last. Its manufacturing facilities are located in Småland, in Gråbo outside of Gothenburg and in Eslöv in Skåne. The modular buildings are transported all over Sweden for on-site assembly.
This means that Flexator needs a reliable heat pump supplier with a nationwide presence. It has chosen NIBE because it offers both an extensive range and a nationwide network of supplier services and dealers.
“It used to be a headache trying to keep track of where all the various players were. We don’t have that problem now that we have NIBE,” comments Torbjörn Isaksson, HVAC Manager at Flexator.
He points out that NIBE not only has a nationwide presence, it can also provide a level of service that no previous supplier could.
“The persons designated as our contacts at NIBE respond immediately to our questions and communications. Previously, we would be passed from one person to the next before eventually receiving the help we wanted. Now it takes just one call to get help, which is positive in my view.”
This is the third year of their partnership and Torbjörn Isaksson is satisfied.
“There has been no trouble with any of the products,” he says.
“NIBE uses cutting-edge technologies and offers excellent warranty and insurance terms that are favourable to both us and the end customer. This includes a five-year warranty, which the customer can extend via NIBE.”
Flexator’s buildings are based on standardised systems with the modules built according to production-ready drawings. The modules can also be combined in all kinds of ways, which offers considerable flexibility and means that NIBE’s pumps always fit the requirements perfectly.
Fredrik Snygg, Regional Manager for commercial heat pumps at NIBE, also speaks warmly of the partnership:
“Whatever type of building they’re constructing or its location, we have a workable standard solution at the ready!
NIBE F2120 is a best-seller!
As soon as it was launched, it was evident that the new NIBE F2120 represented a breakthrough in heating, with figures that had never before been presented for an airto-water heat pump in the Swedish market. Sales are now well under way and there’s record-breaking interest in the product.
“It’s going incredibly well,” says Niklas Rönnäng, Sales Manager at NIBE.
The high expectations that we had at the outset have certainly been far exceeded.
In fact, it has been so successful that demand is currently greater than NIBE is able to supply.
“Before a product is launched, we can only make forecasts for sales. It’s always something of a balancing act. What percentage of our production capacity should we allocate to each of the various products? What sort of reception will the market give the new product?
Production is being redirected at the moment and capacity for the NIBE F2120 is steadily increasing.
“That’s one of the major advantages of our modular system — we’re able to switch production easily as soon as we have the right components and the right materials here.”
The NIBE F2120 is exceeding expectations in the Service Department too. Everyone’s always a bit nervous before a new NIBE product is placed on the market. Will everything go as smoothly as intended? Are the instructions clear enough? Will there be any teething problems?
“We’re a bit on edge, especially as the NIBE F2120 is such a major and important launch,” says Berry Christensson, Head of NIBE After Sales.
“Here at the Service Department, we’re not only responsible for service but also for providing the installer with support. So we’re the ones who get the initial indications of how it’s all going. It was quiet with the NIBE F2120. Berry says, “Of course, you get a bit worried. Normally when we launch a new heat pump, there are always some questions or concerns. So we were starting to wonder if the deliveries had been delayed or if the pumps weren’t selling. But everything was working fine and it’s selling very well. Quite simply, the NIBE F2120 is as easy to install as it’s supposed to be. Niklas Rönnäng is pleased that it has been so quiet. This proves not only that this is a good product, but also that the quality assurance process has worked as intended. And that includes information, documentation, manuals and user-friendliness too.
“We’ve put the NIBE F2120 through exhaustive tests,” says Niklas.
“But have we also put ourselves in the installers’ and users’ shoes and done our research and homework well enough? Judging from the positive response from the market, I’d say we have.”
NIBE F2120 ENJOYS SUCCESS IN EUROPE!
The new air-to-water heat pump was recently awarded the Grand Prix at the “For Arch” building trade fair in Prague in September. This award is presented to exhibited products that incorporate progressive technologies, energy efficiency and environmental consideration.