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Analysis - Moventas looks to UK with David Brown deal

UK: Moventas is looking to raise its game in the UK's nascent offshore market following its acquisition of the wind gearbox business of British engineering firm David Brown.

Moventas' takeover of the David Brown business in September offers the company greater access to the UK market, particularly in relation to its offshore market.

Gavin McCallum chief operations officer at Clyde Blowers Capital, the Scottish firm that owns both companies, said: "We're aware that the use of UK suppliers is not mandated, but there's a really clear intention to favour UK suppliers, which is something we strongly support

"It would require significant investment if David Brown were to bring in more big customers – these customers are looking for companies with global networks... so the merger with Moventas is a logical step."

When the business was brought into the fold in September, Moventas also acquired the contract for the development of the drivetrain for Samsung's next-generation 7MW offshore turbine.

Taking on David Brown's facilities, including a test bench and service centre in Huddersfield in the north of England, will improve Moventas' ability to offer more effective operations and maintenance services to customers, a key factor in the decision to acquire the business.

The facilities will continue to operate fully under their new ownership, with McCallum indicating that the company is likely to add to its UK workforce as the offshore market matures, rather than cut.

Clyde Blowers has indicated to Windpower Monthly that, as well as being developed in the UK, Moventas is keen to see the gearbox produced in the country.

"Ultimately we would like the Samsung gearbox to be produced in the UK," commented McCallum.

"We will be looking at further investment in the UK, with a view to possibly opening manufacturing facilities in coastal areas," he added.

David Brown won the contract to design the Samsung drivechain in 2012 and received a £1.2 million (EUR 1.9 million) grant from the UK government as part of the Offshore Wind Component Technologies Innovation scheme intended to encourage companies to carry out development in the country.

Moventas has also announced that it will separate off its wind business from the rest of its industrial gearbox division.

The move represents a u-turn on the restructuring the company underwent only last year when the previously independent wind and industrial divisions were merged.

Moventas' new wind gear business will be led by the current senior vice president Arto Lahtela, who commented: "The wind market has specific requirements that differ from other industrial gear markets.

"Our strategy concentrates fully on innovative technologies to serve customers as a strong onshore gearbox and service provider and to become the leading offshore wind gearbox supplier."

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