Genova - Giuseppe Zampini is quite familiar with Russia, “We’ve been in this market for 12 years.” The president of Ansaldo Energia feels almost at home, surrounded by Moscow’s delegates who attended a recent Italian-Russian seminar in Genoa. It’s these powerbrokers who will be responsible for designing a business model that could benefit commercial relations between the two countries, a sort of ‘Made with Italy’.
The president of Ansaldo Energia is forging ahead, and has announced that his firm is ready to manufacture gas turbines in Russia, through a joint venture with a “very strong” partner.
A joint venture between the Italian company and a local giant in the sector, then; one likely partner could be Saint Petersburg-based firm LMZ (Leningradsky Metallichesky Zavod). Zampini will not go into details, but announced that “soon, in coming weeks,” a deal could be struck: “We will get to Russia independently of politics,” said Zampini, “but if politics is on our side, we can get there faster.” The Russians prefer to form partnerships that allow added value to be created in their country, rather than favouring imports: “There will be a locally developed supply chain,” Zampini said, “the costs are quite competitive, and the idea is to develop a mutual exchange. We’ll put in place a transfer of technical know-how, and not one of short-duration.” Zampini is certain to have a suitable partner that can meet such conditions. “A very important and solid partner is interested in backing the project, so that we could venture to other countries as well.” LMZ is a subsidiary of giant OJSC Power Machines, in which Siemens had a 25% stake until 2011. In any case, the partner will be revealed on the announcement of the deal that “is being finalized”, explained Zampini.
Relations with Russia go back a long while; Ansaldo Energia has a company in Moscow, and a branch in St. Petersburg, that provides service, maintenance and assistance for turbines and power plants.
The most recent order it received was a year ago for the maintenance of four turbines and two generators at a Russian power plant, and, overall, the Italian group oversees maintenance at over twenty gas turbines in Russia. The company, now controlled by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, business in Russia began in 2007, with a 70 million euro contract for three gas turbines. Then, in 2013, more turbines added some €90 million to the firm’s order backlog. More recently, five turbogas units, inaugurated in late 2016, power one of Europe’s largest facilities, in St. Petersburg.
But now the scheme that Zampini is setting up is different: it will not just be about exporting the turbines, but the Italian company aims to create a new company that will be producing in Russia for eventual export to other markets.