Queuing Up For Your Own Supply Chain


February 6, 2012

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Samsung’s announcement last week that it intends to invest £100million in Scotland and create 500 jobs through a new offshore wind turbine manufacturing facility was certainly of interest.

Not only will the new facility provide a manufacturing plant for the firm’s latest 7MW prototype turbine, but the firm will also tie up with Clyde Blowers subsidiary, David Brown gear systems, for gearbox technology.

Samsung of course follow, if not a flood, then perhaps a steady trickle of renewable energy business’s that have been lured to the UK. Gamesa has plans for a plant in Leith, Siemens has opted for Hull and Vestas’ application for a factory in Sheerness is in the planning stage.

But in essence the deal is arguably pretty good for UK PLC and as an aside, also very good for an independent Scotland, should that occur.

More widely, it’s not really a surprise given the number of other deals taking place that are seeing a number of Asian businesses investing not only in the UK, but also Europe (see Binani’s acquisition of Belgium’s 3B for details).

So what does this mean for the established European businesses?

It means it is a wake up call. Unless European inward investors want to find themselves at the back of the queue for expertise in their own supply chain, then they need to firm up commercial relationships with the David Brown’s of this world, and fast.

This, combined with the ambitions of South Korean offshore wind, and it’s perhaps not unrealistic to expect Samsung to be followed by the likes of Daewoo and Hyundai – all looking for a suitable environment to develop their technology.

Time then, to start building those local partnerships and to start picking up the phone.

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