VKR Holding creates a world leader in large-scale solar thermal heating plants

Date: 3 February 2015

PRESS RELEASE

ARCON Solar and SUNMARK Solutions are leading European suppliers of large-scale thermal solar heating plants. The two companies have now merged into one organisation, called Arcon-Sunmark. The aim is to realise further growth.

The acquisition of SUNMARK Solutions, which now becomes part of ARCON Solar, marks the birth of a potential heavyweight in the supply of large-scale thermal solar heating plants. The company behind the merger is VKR Holding, the current owner of ARCON Solar. ARCON Solar, based in the town of Skørping in Northern Jutland, Denmark, has seen significant growth in recent years, thanks to a primary focus on large-scale thermal solar heating installations for district heating plants in Denmark and the German speaking countries. SUNMARK Solutions operates own production facilities in Marstal, Denmark, and in Vietnam, and focuses mainly on the international market, especially South America, where the company is a supplier of thermal solar heating plants for process heating purposes, used for instance in the mining industry. The merged company has been named Arcon-Sunmark.

”As we see it, the two companies perfectly complement each other, both in terms of main competences, production set-up, and sales focus. Both possess a range of unique skills, supplemented by many years’ experience with development and establishment of large-scale thermal solar heating plants. As a result, we have great expectations on Arcon-Sunmark’s future performance,” says Torben Sørensen, group executive officer of VKR Holding responsible for solar thermal energy, chairman of the board of Arcon-Sunmark.

Søren Elisiussen, the current CEO of ARCON Solar, will become CEO of Arcon-Sunmark, while Hans Grydehøj, founder and former owner of SUNMARK Solutions, will become International Sales Executive with special responsibility for industrial process solutions. The merged company will continue to be headquartered in Skørping, while the activities and competences of the Marstal operation, currently with 10 employees, will be retained.

Increased production capacity required for increased growth
As a result of ARCON Solar’s successful years with significant growth rates, the company could be faced with capacity challenges within a couple of year’s time. SUNMARK Solution’s Vietnamese operation currently has 45 employees, but this number more than doubles when the company undertakes large-scale international projects. The operation’s employees have considerable experience with the production of solar panels and will consequently from day one constitute a significant part of Arcon-Sunmark’s total production capacity.

”We have made an ambitious growth plan for the company, and in order to realise it, we have a fundamental need for increased capacity which is fully able to meet our current quality standards. The operation in Skørping, Denmark, is intended to support the company’s growth in Denmark and Europe, while the Vietnamese operation will support the global growth. For this reason, the new factory will be a major asset going forward, not least in relation to new and interesting international markets,” says Søren Elisiussen, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark.

International pipeline to be realised
In recent years, SUNMARK Solutions has maintained a primary focus on the international market for thermal solar heating installations for process heat production. The best known example is a 39,300 sq. m. installation erected in 2013 for the Minera Gaby copper mine in Chile. SUNMARK Solutions’ pipeline includes several large projects, but in order to pursue international growth, SUNMARK Solutions considers it essential to have strong financial backing.

”Together with ARCON Solar, and with VKR Holding as our owner, we now have the right set-up to realise our international ambitions. Our pipeline is very promising, and especially on behalf of our employees, I am truly pleased that Arcon-Sunmark has now become a reality,” says Hans Grydehøj, International Sales Executive in Arcon-Sunmark with special responsibility for industrial process solutions.

SolarCAP to be discontinued
VKR Holdings’ SolarCAP subsidiary, which has so far been the operative holding company for the thermal solar energy activities, will now be discontinued, while Arcon-Sunmark will be a direct subsidiary of VKR Holding. SolarCAP’s stakes in companies specialising in residential thermal solar heating plants in India (EMMVEE, 50%), USA (Heliodyne, 100%) and Austria (GREENoneTEC, 50%), as well as General Solar Systems (SONNENKRAFT, 100%) were all divested in the course of 2014. Now, the company’s entire focus is on the considerable potential within large-scale thermal solar installations.

About large-scale thermal solar installations
Large-scale thermal solar installations offer a number of unique advantages: The energy production is easy to establish and able to compete with the cheapest types of fuel, including straw. Once the installation has been established, it is characterised by very low operating costs, partly because the solar energy is free. In addition, cost levels associated with thermal solar heating installations are both stable and predictable, as they are not exposed to price fluctuations such as those known from other energy sources like oil, gas and coal. The thermal solar energy is produced locally and will be used locally as well, which ensures highly efficient utilisation of the installations. Furthermore, it is possible to store the energy for later use. This is achieved for instance by means of huge water basins capable of storing the heat from summer to winter. Last, but not least, thermal solar is a completely sustainable and pollution-free energy source.

The largest projects in the world
Arcon-Sunmark has built some of the world’s largest thermal solar heating plants, including:
• Vojens District Heating Plant, Denmark (2015): 52,491 sq. m.
• Minera Gaby, Chile (2013): 39,300 sq. m.
• Dronninglund District Heating Plant, Denmark (2014): 37,275 sq. m.
• Gram District Heating Plant, Denmark (2015): 34,763 sq. m.
• Marstal District Heating Plant, Denmark (2012): 33,360 sq. m.
• Akershus Energi, Norway (2013): 12,810 sq. m.
• Almere Sun Island, the Netherlands (2010): 7,500 sq. m.

About Arcon-Sunmark
Arcon-Sunmark, a company specialising in large-scale and mid-range thermal solar heating plants, is the market leader in Europe, where the company has installed more than half of all plants over 1,000 sq. m., and where the largest plants are more than 50,000 sq. m. in size. Large-scale thermal solar heating plants are developed mainly for the district heating sector as well as for industries with considerable process heat requirements, such as the mining industry, breweries, dairies, etc. Arcon-Sunmark is a Danish company headquartered in Skørping, Denmark, with operations in Marstal and production facilities in Vietnam. In parallel with the acquisition of SUNMARK Solutions, the company has also acquired the subsidiary Pipeteq Systems, which specialises in precast piping solutions primarily for the district heating sector, large-scale thermal solar heating plants and industrial applications. Arcon-Sunmark is a 100% subsidiary of VKR Holding.

About VKR Holding
VKR Holding is a holding and investment company whose purpose is to create value through capital investments and company ownerships. In total, VKR Holding’s portfolio of companies employs some 14,000 people in more than 40 countries. VKR Holding owns companies which bring daylight, fresh air and a better environment into people’s daily lives. VKR Holding is a company in family trust ownership with the VILLUM FONDEN trust fund as its majority shareholder.

 

For further information please contact:

Torben Sørensen, Chairman of the Board of Arcon-Sunmark.
Tel. +45 21 41 32 18
ts@solarcap.dk

Søren Elisiussen, CEO, Arcon-Sunmar
Tel.: +45 40 51 69 12
se@arcon.dk

Hans Grydehøj, International Sales Executive, Arcon-Sunmark
Tel.: +45 24 84 22 67
hg@sunmark.com