Bitumina: Danske Infrastructure after Denimotech, Technix deals

First published in Global Report: Construction Equipment 2016 as Bitumina: one to watch

Bitumina Group CEO Bernd SchmidtBitumina Group CEO Bernd Schmidt visits a PMB plan under erection in Bolivia

If you want to know what’s going to happen next in the world of bitumen, you could do a lot worse than keeping abreast of some of the Bitumina Group’s business moves and plans. Bitumina, led by CEO and founder Dr Bernd Schmidt, is involved in everything to do with bitumen from refinery to road. The website describes its activities as ‘manufacturing, processing, packing, modifying, upgrading, engineering and exporting bitumen on a global scale’.

The group’s activities are also extending into the financing of PPP projects, enabling construction and maintenance of roads through various global joint ventures and soon-to-be launched business unit DANSKE INFRASTRUCTURE, which Schmidt plans to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. “The Group is also planning to enter the domain of global bulk tanker ship owning in 2016,” according to Schmidt.

Foreseeing the changes that are now sweeping the global bitumen market some years ago, Schmidt set about expanding Bitumina’s business from the supply of bitumen to a company that covered the entire chain: a ‘vertical bitumen company’. In 2013, it acquired Danish company Denimotech, then a specialist bitumen emulsion plant and polymer modified bitumen (PMB) plant manufacturer.

In two years, Denimotech has been completely transformed and now supplies a vast range of bitumen equipment including polymer modified and crumb rubber bitumen plants, hybrid specialty bitumen modification plants, nanoadditive production plants, storage tanks, complete terminal solutions, emulsion sprayers, packing systems, transportation trucks and containers.

Flexibility and adaptability is one of the biggest needs of Denimotech’s customers, said CEO Rene Ziegler. “We are seeing a surge in demand in advanced Polymer Modified Bitumen and Hybrid Plants globally,” he said.

“Contractors, blenders and end-users are looking at more advanced plants, which allow them to use various polymers, recycled materials and multiple additives in a single production process.”

Denimotech has also partnered with New Zealand firm Technix to construct the Technix Multigrade Bitumen Reactor, designed to produce high quality bitumen from almost any residue or residue combinations of the industry. “The plant works like a swiss knife and grade changes can be done on the run as may be needed,” said Ziegler.

“Technix, with our ideas and assistance, has designed the plants in smaller and larger sizes to allow their use in refineries, at a contractor’s blending terminal or on site to ensure that any bitumen of any quality received can always be corrected to the required norms and be superior in performance.” The reactor is built in modular containers to allow easy transportation, and fast erection and dismantling.

With new facilities in Turkey and Portugal, Denimotech is planning to increase production of both off-theshelf and custom-made equipment and plants. And the growth plans don’t stop there: as well as planned production facilities in Latin and Central America, Denimotech has its eye on the US market.

“One exciting piece of news will be a new venture that revives an old partnership from the history of our company to bring us into the US and Canadian market, where we see much potential for our equipment and solutions,” said Ziegler. “The venture is in the final stages of approval and we hope that our products will be in the US in the coming months.”

Denimotech’s huge range of equipment has been put to use in a series of bituterminals which the Bitumina Group has been implementing into its own distribution assets in various locations, as well as delivering plants worldwide for national oil companies, road concession owners, terminal owners and blenders. The group’s first terminal to open was in Bolivia followed by a PMB Plant and a packing facility in Eastern Europe; terminals in Mongolia, Romania, Poland and Lithuania are under construction with more to come.

In 2015 Bitumina Group helped to bring more than US$2 billion of Investments into the Russian Federation. “We are looking at more cross-border assistance to help governments and infrastructure projects raise funding for PPP projects,” said Schmidt.

In the coming year, Schmidt plans to expand Bitumina’s global terminal business and to create more strategic alliances with leading global equipment manufacturers. He is also mooting an IPO (initial public offering) within the next two years, “to raise capital and continue the growth plans to become a fully vertically integrated company in the bitumen sphere”.

The listed business will carry interests, subsidiaries and assets in bitumen trading, bitumen shipping, plant manufacturing for bitumen modification and water purification and infrastructure investments into PPP. Definitely one to watch.