Wirenet Image Band
wirenet.org mobile image band

Wire Journal News

Sumitomo to acquire German manufacturer to make cable for 2 orders worth €3 billion

Japan’s Sumitomo Electric announced that it will buy a controlling interest in Südkabel, and that it plans to expand production capacity at its plant in Mannheim, Germany, to manufacture 525 kV HVDC cable for two German net-zero projects worth an estimated €3 billion.

A press release said that Amprion, a German transmission system operator (TSO), needs the 525 kV HVDC cable for sections of the Korridor B and Rhein-Main-Link projects. Amprion signed a Preferred Supplier Agreement (PSA) for the two projects that will be finalized at a later date. Based on the PSA, Sumitomo has committed to providing the capacity, and to that end, it plans to invest in Südkabel. The deal allows Amprion to have its cable made in Germany.

The first order is for the HVDC cable for the approximately 300 km-long V49 link of the Korridor B direct current project between the Wilhelmshaven substations in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamm in North Rhine-Westphalia. The second order is for part of the Rhein-Main-Link, a 500-km energy route through an underground cable connection that will transport electricity from offshore wind farms in the North Sea to the Rhein-Main region.

Per the website of Südkabel, the company has had different names since it was originally founded in Mannheim in 1898 as Süddeutsche Kabelwerke (Südkabel). In 1970, the Kabel- und Lackdrahtfabriken GmbH (Kabel+Draht) was formed by merging several companies. Kabel+Draht was owned by Brown, Boveri & Cie. (BBC) for 18 years. With the formation of ABB AG through the merger of Asea and BBC, the name of the company was changed to ABB Kabel und Draht GmbH in 1988. In 1997, the power cable activities continued under the name ABB Energiekabel GmbH. On Jan. 1, 2004, Johann Erich Wilms acquired the cable and accessories plant with all its activities in Mannheim from ABB, and since then, the company has again operated under its traditional name of Südkabel GmbH. The company has approximately 260 employees.

The new projects will be ongoing over the next 10 years. Per its press release, Sumitomo Electric will have a 90% share of Südkabel, and will invest approximately €90 million to expand its production capacity in Mannheim to locally produce the highest end 525kV HVDC cable.

“With (the) acquisition of Südkabel, we can fully localize our operation in Germany to support Amprion and the energy transition in the country,” said Masaki Shirayama, CEO of Sumitomo’s Electric, Wire and Energy Unit. “Along with our new submarine cable factory being constructed in Scotland, we will further reinforce and expand our high voltage power cable capabilities in the region.”

Google announced that it will launch the first-ever submarine cable route between Africa and Australia, named “Umoja,” a Swahhili word that means unity.

 A press release said that the fiber optic route will pass through Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including the Google Cloud region, before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia. Umoja’s terrestrial path was built in collaboration with Liquid Intelligent Technologies to form a highly scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network.

Umoja joins Equiano in an initiative called Africa Connect. Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world. Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages.

Since Google opened its first Sub-Saharan Africa office in Nairobi in 2007, the company has partnered with governments from countries across Africa on numerous digital initiatives. In 2021, Google committed to invest $1 billion in Africa over five years to support a range of efforts, from improved connectivity to investment in startups, to help boost Africa’s digital transformation. “Since then, Google has invested more than $900 million in the region, and we expect to fulfill our commitment by 2026. ... Google is as committed as ever to partnering with communities, businesses, and governments in Africa to help foster even more innovation across the continent.”

Prysmian reported that the company has received antitrust clearance in the U.S. for its recently announced deal to buy Encore Wire.

A press release said that completion of the deal remains conditional on approval of Encore Wire’s shareholders “and the fulfillment of other conditions precedent typical for this type of transaction.” In related news, the company said that the acquisition of the McKinney, Texas-based company was going well, and that the result of synergies should be seen at an even quicker pace.

Per published reports, CEO Chief Executive Massimo Battaini told analysts that the outlook or Prysmian’s $4.2 billion acquisition of Encore Wire was quite good. “We started already outlining and discussing with the counterpart the major action to be undertaken the day one after the closing ... to capture the expected $140 million synergies with a faster pace than what we anticipated,” he said.

Begium-based Jan De Nul announced that it plans to add to its cable-laying fleet to serve demands from the transition to renewable energy.

A press release said that the new XL ship will be the fifth vessel in Jan De Nul Group’s cable-laying fleet that has installed 2,500 km of submarine cables in 25 countries over the past decade. It notes that its projects include connecting Crete to mainland Greece, a span of 135 km at depths to 1,000 m, with “to put it mildly, bitterly rough and challenging seabed.”

The company has bookings for installing 2,500 km of cable that led to the order for a new XL cable-laying vessel. “With this second XL cable-laying vessel, we continue to reinforce our pioneering role,” said Jan Van de Velde, director new building, Jan De Nul Group.

Like the Fleeming Jenkin, the vessel will be 215 m long, designed to transport 28,000 tons of cables, the largest capacity cable-laying vessels in the world. The vessels can lay cables in both shallow and ultra-deep waters up to 3,000 meters, handling cable tensions of up to 150 tons.

Both vessels are equipped with Ultra-Low Emission vessel (ULEv) technology, an advanced dual exhaust filter system. This system removes up to 99% of nanoparticles from emissions using a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and a selective catalytic reduction system (SCR) for NOx removal. The ULEv system also significantly reduces exhaust gas pollutants. Thanks to the ULEv system, the vessels comply with the strict European Stage V emission standards for inland waterway vessels.

An April 4 fire that smoldered for days resulted in massive destruction of stored cables in a warehouse that is owned by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB).

Per a report in the Daily Expresswhich included a photo of an outside storage area with hundreds of large cable reels, many of which were ablaze— the fire devastated the warehouse and outdoor reels that were stored for distribution across the state. The casualties included 70 newly arrived drums of cables, alongside the existing inventory destined for various regions. A local fire official indicated that of an area of about 3.7 acres “a significant portion of 3 acres suffer(ed) direct damage.”

Estimates pegged the losses at more than $8 million, much of which was for the loss “of more than 1,000 drums of cables.” The damages are significant for SESB as it will require “a prolonged and expensive process of reallocating funds and time to reorder the essential materials.”

The article noted that there were eight types of cables destroyed, most of which were coated cables designed to replace older, bare cables. SESB estimated that some 5,000 km of uncoated cables are in use that should be replaced, while current capacity only allows for 300 km of cables. “Without implementing a comprehensive cable replacement program, it is projected to take approximately 20 years to address the widespread issue of uncoated cables across the state.”


Contact us

The Wire Association Int.

71 Bradley Road, Suite 9

Madison, CT 06443-2662

P: (203) 453-2777