Becoming part of Wärtsilä: Hamworthy

A large part of Wärtsilä’s offering in the pumps and valves, gas systems and environmental solutions can be traced to the Hamworthy acquisition. Read on to see how the acquisition played out.

Text: Isabelle Kliger Photo: Wärtsilä

In November 2011, Wärtsilä announced it had reached an agreement to acquire Hamworthy, a global provider of specialist equipment and services to the marine, oil and gas and industrial sectors. In becoming part of Wärtsilä, Hamworthy brought with it its market-leading products for the offshore oil and gas, marine, and environmental solutions markets.

Hamworthy was initially integrated as a business unit within Wärtsilä’s Ship Power business (now named Marine Solutions), contributing an additional 1,400 employees into a division that already consisted of about 3,500 people. Hamworthy’s employees joined Wärtsilä from the company’s various offices around the world, as well as its factory in China.


Entrepreneurial spirit

Henrik Sørensen, Director Pumps at Wärtsilä Pumps & Valves, headed up the Hamworthy Svanehoj Pumps business in Denmark at the time of the acquisition. He explains that while Hamworthy was originally founded in 1914, the modern-day version of the company was the product of a series of acquisitions in the 1990s and early 2000s. In a company with close to 100 years’ experience under its belt, this created a unique culture defined by the kind of entrepreneurship and agility that can usually be found in a start-up.

“What Hamworthy really excelled at was identifying, breaking into and taking the lead in niche segments. When Wärtsilä acquired Hamworthy, we were the market leader in inert gases and had more than 90 percent of the global market for offloading pumps for LPG Carriers,” says Sørensen.

Geir Hellum, Director Water & Waste Systems for Wärtsilä’s Environmental Solutions Business Line, headed up the Inert Gas Systems and Exhaust Gas Cleaning side of the business at the time of the acquisition. He explains that Hamworthy’s business units were initially left to operate as largely independent entities.

“The Hamworthy organization was based on a series of end-to-end businesses. As the person in charge of one of our business lines, I oversaw everything from product development through to procurement, manufacturing, delivery, sales, and even our aftermarket operations,” he says.


Sales all around the world

Fast-forward just over five years, and Hamworthy is now a fully integrated part of the Wärtsilä organization, represented by Wärtsilä’s global sales force to customers all over the world, in combination with dedicated former Hamworthy sales outfits in key markets. Sørensen explains that, while Hamworthy mostly developed standalone products, becoming part of the Wärtsilä family has enabled it to integrate its offering into the complete marine systems and solutions offered by Wärtsilä.

“As a global company, Wärtsilä really transforms the playing field for companies like Hamworthy when it acquires them. We now have far greater opportunities to put our products in front of potential customers all over the world,” he continues.

Although Hamworthy was active in more or less the same segments as Wärtsilä, Hellum is quick to emphasize that the two companies were essentially not competitors.

“When we heard we’d been acquired by Wärtsilä; we could see how our companies would fit together. Wärtsilä operated on the same market but not with the same products – in fact, there was very little overlap,” he says.


Total marine solution

By combining their products, Wärtsilä and Hamworthy were uniquely positioned to create a more extensive solution offering.

For example, as Hellum explains, Wärtsilä’s specialization was diesel engines, while Hamworthy had created a product for exhaust gas cleaning – and the two systems were mutually complementary.

“Like all diesel engines, Wärtsilä’s products emit exhausts and we’ve developed a technology to treat and clean these exhaust gases,” he says. “For us, it’s easier to develop a truly excellent exhaust gas cleaning system when we know how an engine works and the same goes for Wärtsilä being able to integrate the after-treatment of exhaust gases as part of the total offering.”

Another key element of Hamworthy’s environmental offering for Wärtsilä was its Ballast Water Management Systems – AQUARIUS® UV and EC. It is extremely important since the global regulations mandate ship owners and operators to treat ballast water before it is released. The convention will come into force on the 8th of September 2017 and an estimated 30,000 ships above 400 Gross Register Tonnes (GRT) will be required to install a type-approved ballast water treatment system at their next mandatory International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) survey.

Wärtsilä and Hamworthy have also combined their experience and expertise to develop a joint product that is the first of its kind. The Wärtsilä Svanehøj ECA fuel pump (EFP) was developed at the Wärtsilä Pumps factory in Aalborg in close cooperation with Wärtsilä’s LNG fuel gas experts. It is based on the same ‘deep-well’ design concept that Hamworthy first developed for its market-leading cargo pumps, making it completely different from any other LNG pump on the market. As demand for high quality, reliable LNG-based fuel gas systems continues to grow, the EFP is set to become a key part of Wärtsilä’s product portfolio.


Developing technologies for the future

Sørensen explains that Wärtsilä’s resources for Research & Development are significantly greater than those that existed at Hamworthy. This makes it possible to develop cutting-edge products like the EFP and, with testing facilities such as the one, that Wärtsilä has built-in Vaasa, Finland, it is also easier to test new technologies and verify that they work.

As the marine market continues to grow increasingly competitive, with regulatory demands on reduced emissions and increased fuel efficiency becoming ever stricter, Hellum and Sørensen agree that Wärtsilä’s ability to develop environmentally sound products like the EFP, or Hamworthy’s exhaust gas cleaning and ballast water systems will be crucial to its success.

“In the future, a major driver in our business will come from environmental regulations. We’re better equipped to face the challenges on the market together – especially through products such as these that are either designed to support alternative fuels or to reduce the environmental impact of the marine industry,” concludes Sørensen.

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