Thermax was incorporated in 1966 through a technical collaboration with Wanson, a Belgium company manufacturing coil-type boilers. The company offers products and services in the areas of heating, cooling, waste heat recovery, captive power, water treatment and recycling, waste management and performance chemicals. It has technology partnerships with leading companies such as Babcock & Wilcox, USA, the Kawasaki Thermal Engineering Company, Japan, and Bloom Engineering, Germany.
In 2005-06, the company was restructured into three business groups – Cooling and Heating, Chemicals and Water, and Projects – to achieve synergies in related businesses. It was also among the 20 Indian companies featured in Forbes list of ’Asia’s best under a billion’ companies. Thermax has five manufacturing locations in India and a widespread network of dealers and franchisees across many countries. For 2005-06, it had revenues of EUR 272.78 million, with a profit after tax of EUR 22.90 million.
Factors for Success
- Market Penetration
The company has country-specific business models. In order to overcome entry barriers in the EU, it acquired companies and also set up subsidiaries.
Thermax India has leveraged its resources by combining its downstream expertise in oil and gas with the upstream know-how of its subsidiary, ME Engineering, in the UK. This has enabled it to effectively target the oil and gas industry.
- Focus on Quality
The company has maintained a high level of quality, which is reflected in the international quality certifications it has been awarded, including ISO 9001, 9002, 14001 and the new European pressure directive. It also has its own testing facilities for raw materials as well as finished products.
- Competitive Solutions
Thermax is a diversified manufacturer of energy equipment and environmental systems. The company is a market leader in boilers and absorption coolers. It is one of the few companies in the world that offers integrated equipment’s and services in energy.
- Focussed Approach
Thermax wants to adopt a focussed approach across its EU operations to reduce overall costs and improve quality. The company is planning to introduce chillers that can deliver lower temperature water for industrial and food industry. This will further open the market in a segment that has been non-existent till now. It is also exploring the possibility of finding new application and product in the efficient burning of bio fuels – an emerging area in the EU.
- Operational Excellence
Thermax is planning to invest in its existing facilities to achieve operational excellence. The UK being an important market for the company, it aims to modernise its UK operations. This initiative is expected to have a direct impact on cost, quality, and lead-time and on-time performance.
The company has an R&D setup, involved in technology development and adaptation for various applications. Over the years, the company has formed technology partnerships with Babcock & Wilcox, USA (for supercritical boilers), SPX Corporation, USA (energy efficiency systems), Lambion Energy Solutions, Germany (combustion systems to generate energy from waste), Georgia Pacific, USA (for paper chemicals and specialty products) and Marsulex Environment Technologies, USA (air pollution control systems). Over the years, Thermax spread its operations to markets across the world. It has a sales and service network spanning 22 countries around the world. The company has also focused on growth through strategic acquisitions – Danstoker and Boilerworks in Denmark, Weiss in Poland (boilers and waste heat recovery systems), and Rifox in Germany (steam accessories).