Rarely has a press release by German coating specialist Alanod been this short: The statement to take the solar thermal industry by surprise was only three sentences long. “The shareholders of [Alanod Group and Almeco Group] have agreed to utilise the limited opt-out clause till the end of August. Regarding further details, both companies agreed to observe secrecy. For the future, Alanod and Almeco will be competitors again and are respecting each other, in order to continue supplying their customers as a reliable partner on a long-term basis,” it said on 14 August 2014. And rarely has the solar thermal industry had so little knowledge about why a merger failed. Alanod-Almeco, with headquarters in Ennepetal, had just been announced three months ago in June, right before the Intersolar Europe conference began.
Just a few days before Intersolar Europe 2014 opened its doors in Munich, Germany, news broke of the merger between the two largest solar coating manufacturers in Europe, the Alanod Group, headquartered in Ennepetal, northern Germany, and the Almeco Group whose headquarters are located in Milano, Italy. The company will be called Alanod-Almeco, with headquarters in Ennepetal. Both partners have confirmed the plans to retain both the sales teams and the entire product offering. However, the facts contradict a merger between equals: Alanod is definitely the larger partner. The company with 460 staff had a turnover of EUR 160 million in 2013, whereas the Almeco Group with its 250 staff achieved a turnover of EUR 75 million last year. The new company will be headed by only one person, Ingo Beyer, CEO of the Alanod Group, and the new logo for Alanod-Almeco only includes the Italian partner’s blue triangle.
Since the end of March, the absorber production industry in Europe has had a fairly different look: As of 28 March 2014, Alanod has been the new owner of Bluetec. Both companies are well-known specialists for highly selective absorber coatings for the solar thermal collector industry. Besides providing coated aluminium and copper sheets, they also manufacture and supply highly reflective aluminium for the lighting industry.
Until recently, a handful of German manufacturers had practically dominated the market for “blue” selective absorber coatings. Since 1 January 2013, a supplier from Taiwan has now been part of this select group, too: Alanod-Xxentria Technology Materials, headquartered in Tainan. The new company is a joint venture between the German Alanod Group, the worldwide largest producer of absorber sheets coated with PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), and Xxentria Technology Materials. The latter is a stock-listed company which bought a new PVD coating line with an annual capacity of 8 to 10 million m² from German machinery supplier Von Ardenne Anlagentechnik GmbH one and a half years ago. With it, Xxentria was planning to offer selectively coated absorbers and highly reflective materials to the solar thermal industry. In addition, the new company operates a completely up-to-date anodising line, together with a slitting and cut-to-length facility. The capital invested in Alanod-Xxentria Technology Materials amounts to USD 66 million.
Inaugurating a EUR 20 million investment: Ingo Beyer, CEO of Alanod-Solar GmbH & Co. KG (left), Christa Thoben, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Wilhelm Wiggenhagen, Mayor of Ennepetal, are cutting the ribbon together. Photo: Alanod
Viessmann manager Stefan Hirzinger (right) describes the company's new coating as, “one of the best selective coatings available on the market”. The product passed the accelerated life testing under the name Task X.
Photo: Joachim Berner