New group’s high-efficiency oil-free centrifugal chillers expand worldwide
Montreal, Canada; Melbourne, Australia – Tuesday, October 20, 2009
A global challenge to “the big end of the HVAC industry” was announced today with the formation of a major new global chiller engineering and manufacturing group based in Montreal. Gaetan Morin, executive vice- president of investments of the FTQ Solidarity Fund of Montreal and Roger Richmond-Smith, chairman of the new Smardt Chiller Group, announced an FTQ minority investment of $15 million in the new entity, which merges the Australian PowerPax chiller business with its North American Smardt sister company, then expands distribution offshore.
“Smardt and PowerPax centrifugal chillers are unique in terms of energy efficiency. Their technology significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and their R&D is one of the company’s strengths. In fact, their R&D experts are currently working on new products which will be sold the world over’, said Mr Morin.
Smardt and PowerPax chillers are delivering major reductions in energy consumption in buildings as diverse as the Sydney Opera House, process cooling operations in remote Sinkiang, China, an airport in Colombia, hotels in Hawaii, New York’s Carnegie Hall and large hospitals in several different countries.
“Companies like Sears, Deutsche Bank, Hilton and Baxter are demanding lowest lifetime operating costs against a background of high energy costs and rapidly deepening concern for the environment and climate change,” said Mr Richmond-Smith.
“We have installed more than 1200 chillers in 15 countries so far, with more on the way,’ he continued. “Our core strength lies in our oil-free centrifugal technology, which gives us a clear energy and ecological advantage over traditional lubricated chillers. Our magnetic bearings and integral variable-speed drives also increase reliability over lubricated machines and, with no oil system to maintain, maintenance costs drop away rapidly.”
“In fact, in both water cooled and air cooled markets, our oil-free chillers deliver not just lowest operating costs but the lowest total cost of ownership. Not surprising when a chiller’s lifetime operating cost can be 12 or 13 times its purchase cost”, continued Mr Richmond-Smith.
“Even though the Smardt Group’s total sales this year have yet to reach USD 100 million, making us a distant number 5 behind the Big Four centrifugal chiller brands, we have attracted a strong groundswell of support from building owners, managers and consultants, which augurs well for the near future. Much of this growing appetite for the Smardt and PowerPax oil-free technology is from new markets – where a patient financial partner like FTQ gives us added momentum’, he said.
The FTQ Solidarity Fund (www.fondsftq.com) reports 2009 net assets of $6.4 billion. As a leading development capital company it has some 571,000 shareholders.