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Indian wind turbine giant buys Hansen Transmissions

01 April, 2006

An Indian wind power company, Suzlon Energy, has bought the gearbox manufacturer Hansen Transmissions from its owners, Allianz Capital Partners and Apax Partners Worldwide, for €465m. Suzlon, which claims to be Asia`s fastest-growing wind power company and the world`s sixth largest wind turbine manufacturer, plans to run Hansen an independent business.

"The acquisition enables Suzlon to integrate gearbox technology in the development of its wind turbines," says the company`s president, Tulsi Tanti. "Hansen`s technology, products and production facilities are of the highest quality."

Hansen says it is "pleased" with the acquisition, which "creates possibilities for development of its two Belgian plants as well as for its Asian activities".

Hansen has the capacity to produce gearboxes for wind turbines with a combined output of 3,600MW each year. It also makes more than 3,000 gearboxes a year for industrial applications including materials handling and water treatment plants. Suzlon says that it plans to develop the industrial business, which it describes as "an important dimension" of Hansen`s activities.

Hansen employs 1,200 people at the two production plants in Belgium and at assembly and service centres in the UK, the US, South Africa and Australia. In 2004/2005, it achieved a turnover of more than €210m.

Hansen was founded in Belgium in 1923. In 1969, it was bought by Thomas Tilling, which was itself taken over by BTR, which later combined with Siebe to form Invensys. For a while, Invensys merged Hansen with Brook Crompton to form Brook Hansen. In 2004, Invensys sold Hansen to Allianz for €132m.

Suzlon has international headquarters in Denmark, and r&d facilities in Germany, the Netherlands and India. It employs about 4,000 staff and had sales last year worth around €400m.

Since January this year, Hansen has been running its Lommel plant in Belgium (above) entirely on "green" electricity. The two-year-old factory, which employs 360 people producing gearboxes for multi-megawatt wind turbines, is powered by energy generated in Belgium from renewable sources such as sun, wind and water. The factory requires about 20,000MWh of electricity a year, and the changeover to renewable power will cut its CO2 emissions by more than 15,000 tonnes a year.




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