Omnia, US firm eye African expansion

1 February 2010

South African chemicals company Omnia is partnering with Nalco, a leading American water treatment and process improvement company, to provide an extensive range of water and process treatment services to the African market.

Services will include treatments for the mining sector; refinery and petrochemical sector; pulp and paper industry; food and beverage market and broader industrial water and effluent treatment applications.

“This joint venture will enable Omnia to assist its clients to significantly reduce their environmental impact using Nalco’s industrial water and process treatment technologies,” Omnia MD Rod Humphris said in a statement last week.

“This partnership with the leading global water and process services company complements our existing chemicals business and demonstrates our continued commitment to growing our business through proactive management of South Africa’s scarce water resources in the critical area of water improvement.”

Patented technologies

As per the agreement, Protea Chemicals, a division of Omnia, will form a joint venture company with the Illinois-based Nalco. Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the company will begin operating in the first quarter of 2010.

Nalco uses an award-winning, patented cooling water automation technology to reduce industrial water use. Since its introduction in 2004 this technology has saved more than 596 million cubic meters of water worldwide.

The use of the company’s technologies provides cost-effective, engineered solutions for the control of nitrogen and sulphur oxides, carbon monoxide, mercury and particulates, thereby helping companies to increase combustion efficiency and reduce energy costs.

These water and air technologies represent a small element of the extensive range of services and products which will be available under the new business, Nalco Africa.

Africa: growth market

According to Nalco CEO Erik Fyrwalk, Africa was an important growth market, with the total accessible market in the region estimated at more than US$400-million (about R3-billion) and expected to grow significantly over the next ten years.

“We will be in a unique position to combine our technologies and expertise to provide advanced products and services,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity to bring together our expertise and experience in the water, energy and air sectors, our global research facilities, and a well-respected partner who understands the needs of the industrial services market in Africa.”

SAinfo reporter

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