In October 2009, McNally Bharat Engineering Company Ltd. (MBE) announced that its 100% Singaporean subsidiary, MBE Holdings Pte Ltd., had completed negotiations with KHD Humboldt Wedag International Ltd. for the purchase of HW Coal & Minerals Technology GmbH. This globally successful company in the field of ore and coal preparation now trades as MBE Coal & Minerals Technology GmbH; for the participating partners, nonetheless, nothing changes, except the name. AT INTERNATIONAL took this news as an opportunity to highlight McNally Bharat Engineering Company Ltd. in more detail, and to learn more about its future plans in an interview with the company‘s CEO, Srinivash Singh.
The origins of McNally Bharat can be found in America. The company was founded in 1961 as a joint venture between McNally Pittsburgh, of the USA, and Bird & Co., from the United Kingdom; its core business was in coal and minerals preparation. The company had an engineering office and its own production facilities in India, however; the longest conveyor system in India, handling 800 t coal per hour to feed the thermal power generating plant at Talcher, in the state of Orissa, and two further supplier facilities for ore preparation and the production of aluminium, plus a coal-washing plant, originated here in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1972, the company was renamed McNally Bharat Engineering Company Limited, and was taken over by the Williamson Magor Group in 1980. The group‘s activities quickly grew, accompanied by diversification of its product range to include plants and facilities for power generation, for steel production, for mining, for water supply, loading and unloading terminals for shipping, and several other specialities.
AT INTERNATIONAL: Mr. Singh, why did McNally Bharat, in particular, develop an interest in KHD Humboldt Wedag’s Humboldt Wedag Coal & Minerals Technology GmbH (HW-CMT)?
Singh: HW-CMT is an extremely strong player in the coal and minerals preparation field. In India, HW-CMT was already occasionally a very serious competitor and, occasionally, a good business partner when special technologies were needed. We heard of the plans to sell the company early in 2009. HW-CMT was particularly interesting to us since the technology which it has developed over the years is better than our group‘s technology in this sector. HW-CMT invested a great deal in development in this field between 1980 and 2000.
AT INTERNATIONAL: Were there any competitors for purchase of HW-CMT, and what ultimately made McNally Bharat successful?
Singh: Yes, there were indeed a number of other potential buyers! But KHD Humboldt Wedag International Ltd. found the many synergies between coal and minerals preparation and the McNally Bharat group‘s activities very attractive. In addition, KHD is very interested in expanding its business in the field of cement in India, and we can offer a lot of support here. KHD supplies core components for cement plants, and many Indian clients are looking for an all-in solution, which we are then able to offer locally. Talks with KHD on corresponding cooperation have already been held.
We also benefit, of course, from HW-CMT’s international contacts in Europe, China, South Africa, South America and Australia – McNally Bharat does not as yet have any offices in these regions.
We were also extremely interested in KHD’s production shops here in Cologne. They had been looking for a buyer for these facilities for some time, and the deal thus went through much to the satisfaction of both sides.
AT INTERNATIONAL: What are your plans for the future, and where is development heading?
Singh: We’re backing growth, of course – we intend to be four times our present size by 2015. We also attach very great importance to the ongoing development of our products, and we‘ll be working very closely with the group in Cologne on this, particularly in the field of technical interchange between both companies’ development engineers. We’re planning to send Indian colleagues to Cologne, and German colleagues will be coming to India.
The technological trend will, whatever the case, continue toward more competitive machines and facilities, offering greater efficiency in the preparation of all minerals and coal, to ensure that less and less valuable resources remain in the byproducts and residues. We also intend to set up cooperation with a number of German universities, including the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, the Technical University of Clausthal and the Technical University of Freiberg.
AT INTERNATIONAL: So you see MBE Coal & Minerals Technology GmbH as your capability center for global coal and minerals preparation?
Singh: Yes - but not only that: at the same time, all global marketing and sales activities for this market segment will be controlled from Cologne. We’re putting our faith in German colleagues with well proven track records, reinforced by newly appointed young engineers with good potential. It was, ultimately, the only logical step to put management of MBE Coal & Minerals Technology GmbH in German hands. The directors, Jochen Schwerdtfeger and Jürgen Winckler, have both been associated with the company for thirty years, they‘re internationally known, and they are responsible for technology and for marketing and sales; Olaf Zimmlinghaus is the chief financial officer.
AT INTERNATIONAL: Mr. Singh, many thanks for this informative interview.