17 February 2012 – At a press briefing to report upon ABB’s annual results, CEO of ABB South Africa Carlos Pone said that energy efficiency drives, growth in mining and the oil and gas sectors, as well as renewables projects are some of the sectors where the company sees future growth for the company in Africa.
He also said that benefits will be seen from continued power infrastructure demand in Southern Africa, with the region expected to double its generation capacity by 2035.
For the financial year ended December 2011, ABB South Africa reported revenue of R3.4 billion of which South Africa contributed 80%, with the DRC and Mozambique the main contributors to the remainder. Overall Africa, excluding the Mediterranean rim countries of North Africa, contributed some US$1 billion of ABB’s record global US$40 billion revenue figure.
ABB South Africa says its results were achieved against difficult trading conditions, with customer spend contraction and delays in large capital expenditure for new plant as well as increased competition. However, demand for power infrastructure projects in South and Southern Africa remained buoyant, especially sub-stations and secondary switchgear for power utilities and municipalities. Cost pressures on customers drove energy efficiency investment mainly in industrial plants. The process industry continued to spend on servicing and upgrading plant and the mining and minerals sector, mainly in the rest of Africa, was at pre-2009 levels during the year.
“We saw strong demand from power generation and transmission and distribution due to electricity infrastructure and refurbishment, as well as increased projects from the mining sector, mainly cross-border. As energy efficiency remains a significant driver for customers to reduce costs, we continued to see increased product and systems business,” Pone said.
Some of ABB South Africa’s key power projects during the year included the Vale Moatize coal mine in Mozambique, replacement of medium-voltage switchgear at four substations for R98 million in Sasol Secunda and the construction of two pilot solar photovoltaic power plants for Eskom in the Free State and Mpumalanga in South Africa.
The company’s Automation business, representing about half of group revenue, achieved record base orders from the mining and industry sectors for automation solutions to optimise industrial plants and full service contracts. Low voltage products and systems grew strongly due customers’ technology and energy efficiency requirements.
Key automation projects during the year included the R80 million control system equipment and automation project for Vale Moatize coal mine in Mozambique, R30 million for the upgrade of an excitation system for Eskom’s Camden power station and a R20 million order for the supply of medium voltage drives for Areva Trekkopje mine in Namibia.