STONE HOUSE. The Kremsmueller company sees new opportunities in technologies relating to alternative energy sources. The industrial assembly company was able to close the past financial year on a very positive note.
After the bankruptcy in mid-2020 and the prematurely completed restructuring process in early 2021, the Kremsmueller company can look back on a successful 2021 financial year. “We were able to generate a solid, positive result,” reports co-owner Gregor Kremsmüller. In 2021, the group generated an operating performance of 205 million euros, the core company Kremsmüller Anlagenbau GmbH one of 160 million euros. The number of employees remained constant at 1,700, 1,300 of them in Austria.
After an initial slowdown in project business at the beginning of 2021, considerable incoming orders were recorded in the second half of 2021. The total annual utilization was mathematically secured as early as January. “After the first quarter, we even have the historically highest order backlog in our company’s history at this time of year,” adds Kremsmueller. This order backlog includes numerous projects that will not be completed until after 2022.
Supply chain issues
So far, the Ukraine crisis has only resulted in one order cancellation, which should not cause any damage. However, problems with supply chains are currently causing a lot of work. It is often only individual items in material deliveries that are suddenly no longer available worldwide. Then it has to be rearranged. As a result, projects will simply drag on, the head of the company calculates. Price increases must be cushioned with price escalation clauses, there is no other way. With new offers, the price and availability of materials can often only be guaranteed for the day of the offer. But the customers would understand that.
maintain staff levels
In expanding the district heating lines, Kremsmueller is currently working at the performance limit. “Kremsmueller feels very clearly that in some regions the expansion of district heating is suddenly being pushed, since new gas connections are often no longer offered by the energy suppliers,” says Kremsmueller.
For the current financial year, Kremsmueller expects that the previous year’s level will be maintained. “We expect an effect similar to that during Corona: If no investments are made, then more will be repaired,” says Kremsmueller. “This in turn is good for the maintenance business. In any case, we firmly assume that we will be able to maintain the high workforce of 1,700 employees, 1,300 of them in Austria.”
Crisis also harbors opportunities
The company boss also sees an opportunity in the crisis. “Now suddenly synthetic natural gas pays off many years earlier than previously assumed.” The technologies for this have been around for many years. “Due to the availability and the low price of natural gas, however, applications never went beyond the dimensions of pilot plants,” explains Kremsmueller. “That could change all of a sudden.”
Kremsmueller has been involved in the Upper Austrian research project on high-temperature transmission “Heat Highway” for some time. This is about the nationwide and efficient use of waste heat in large industrial companies. These projects are also currently gaining momentum as a result of the energy price increases.
In addition, Kremsmueller is involved in pioneering major projects involving industrial waste heat, such as at Aurubis in Hamburg. In what is currently the largest project for industrial waste heat in Germany, the heat is derived from a chemical process and will be available to heat over 20,000 households from 2024, saving up to 100,000 tons of CO2 annually.
Shortage of skilled workers is still a challenge
Kremsmueller is urgently looking for specialists in the field of energy transition. The Kremsmueller Academy tries to take the shortage of skilled workers into its own hands.
The academy is now an ÖCert-certified institution for adult education. Lateral entrants have the opportunity to collect all the necessary skills from the mechanical and electrical disciplines for a job in industry.