Wärtsilä CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co Ltd inaugurates its new state-of-the-art Controllable Pitch Propeller factory in China

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release, 29 June 2011 at 11:00 UTC+2

About 20 per cent of the world’s new build vessels use controllable pitch propellers of the type manufactured in this new factory. While most of the propellers will be sold to the rapidly growing Chinese market, significant potential is also foreseen in other global markets as well.

Wärtsilä CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co Ltd, the joint venture company of Wärtsilä Corporation and Zhenjiang CME Ltd, today inaugurated its new manufacturing facilities for controllable pitch (CP) propellers in Zhenjiang, China. Wärtsilä CME has invested EUR 12 million in these state-of-the-art facilities, which was announced last October.

Wärtsilä CME Zhenjiang Propeller is the first company in China to manufacture Wärtsilä designed hydraulically operated CP propellers. The first deliveries from the new factory are planned to take place later this year. Wärtsilä CP Propellers offer excellent efficiency and manoeuvrability and are ideal solutions for ships requiring frequent port calls.

“Most ships are today built in Asian shipyards, and China has emerged as the world’s primary shipbuilding nation. We have taken consistent steps to broaden our presence and production capacity in China, close to our marine customers. The relocation of our Ship Power management team to offices in Shanghai in 2008 further emphasises Wärtsilä’s commitment to China and the Asian markets,” said Ole Johansson, President & CEO of Wärtsilä Corporation, at the inauguration event in Zhenjiang on 29 June 2011.

“The main goal of China’s shipbuilding sector over the coming five years is to vigorously develop the quality and local availability of its marine and offshore equipment. As one of the largest shipbuilding groups in China, CSSC looks forward to a successful and comprehensive strategic cooperation with Wärtsilä, with the inauguration of this new CPP production unit of Wärtsilä CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co. Ltd as a promising starting point,” says Mr Wu Qiang, Vice President of CSSC.

The new factory provides the capability to assemble and machine all sizes of controllable pitch propellers. The specialized in-house bronze castings are supplied from an existing foundry located in the company’s fixed pitch propeller factory. Wärtsilä is able to offer a uniquely wide range of CP propellers with an output from 1.5 to 60 MW. The majority of the new factory’s manufacturing equipment was transferred from the Wärtsilä factory in Drunen, the Netherlands, where production was closed in 2010.

Serving both Chinese and global markets

Most of the propellers produced in the new factory will be sold to the rapidly growing Chinese markets, with some 30 percent of the production likely to be exported. As about 20 percent of the world’s new build vessels use CP propellers of the type manufactured in the new factory, Wärtsilä foresees significant potential in all global markets in addition to the Chinese market.

China has become the leading ship building country in the world. In 2010, China secured the majority of global new building orders. Last year, Chinese ship owners were the most active, ordering more than 20 percent of all vessels ordered.

The agreement to manufacture controllable pitch propellers was signed between Wärtsilä and Zhenjiang CME Ltd, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), in October 2010. The joint venture company, Wärtsilä CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co Ltd, is located in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province and was established in 2004 between Wärtsilä, with a 55 percent share, and Zhenjiang CME Ltd with 45 percent. The joint venture has grown rapidly, to the point that it is now the biggest manufacturer and supplier of fixed pitch (FP) propellers in China, and one of the biggest in the world.

Wärtsilä in China

Wärtsilä has been present in China for more than 20 years, through its fully owned subsidiary and long-term licensing agreements. To serve the world’s largest shipbuilding region, Wärtsilä has established joint ventures for propeller and auxiliary generating set production with leading Chinese shipbuilding groups. Wärtsilä also manufactures thrusters at its 100 percent owned company facilities, while low-speed engines are produced via a joint venture operation.

In the marine market, the leading Chinese ship owners are Wärtsilä customers. In the energy markets, Wärtsilä has delivered altogether 3,500 MW of power plants to China. Wärtsilä Services provides service and maintenance for its customers from five locations in China, the largest of which is in Shanghai.

Including Wärtsilä joint venture companies, there are altogether more than 1800 Wärtsilä employees working in China today. Wärtsilä CME in Zhenjiang currently has 470 employees. The commencement of CP propeller production will slightly increase the number of employees.

Picture of FPP and CPP factories
Caption: FPP factory on the left was inaugurated in 2007, on the right is the new CPP factory.

Picture from the inauguration ceremony
From left to right: Mr. Li Xiaoping, Deputy Mayor of Zhenjiang City, Secretary of CPC Working Committee of Zhenjiang New Area; Mr. Matti Heimonen, Consul General of Finland in Shanghai, China; Mr. Wu Qiang, Vice President of CSSC; Mr. Ole Johansson, President & CEO of Wärtsilä Corporation; Ms. Tamara De Gruyter, General Manager of Wärtsilä CME Zhenjiang Propeller Co.,Ltd

For further information, please contact:
Mr Arto Lehtinen
Vice President, Product Centre Propulsion
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel: +358 40 5541043

Ms Tuula Franck
Senior Manager, Media & Stakeholder Relations
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel: +358 400 267555

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers.
In 2010, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 4.6 billion with more than 17,500 employees. The company has operations in 160 locations in 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.