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¬© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo of Thyssenkrupp AG is pictured at the company’s headquarters in Essen, Germany, November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo/File Photo

By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) – Thyssenkrupp (ETR:)’s plant engineering unit plans to double sales to around 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in the mid-term and is open to taking on co-owners to accelerate growth, according to the division’s chief executive.

Thyssenkrupp Uhde, which employs about 5,000 staff, plans and builds fertiliser, petrochemical, coking and polymere factories, but wants to focus its business around sites for the production of ammonia, which is becoming more relevant as a carrier of green hydrogen.

“Last year we had order intake to the tune of 2 billion euros. That was a record,” Uhde CEO Cord Landsmann told Reuters. “That’s also where our sales should be in the medium term. At the moment, it’s is still around 1 billion.”

Landsmann, a former executive at energy firms E.ON and Uniper, wants to raise the share of order intake related to clean technologies, including the production of green and blue ammonia, to more than 90%, up from around a third now.

Ammonia, a key fertiliser ingredient that can be split into hydrogen and nitrogen, is already shipped in large volumes globally and is cheaper to liquefy and transport than hydrogen.

Europe, most notably Germany, is keen to build a hydrogen value chain, amid a halt in cheap Russian gas supplies that has thrown a spanner in Germany’s efforts to keep industry competitive.

“The transformation of industry and the topic of sustainability is also a core issue for the parent company Thyssenkrupp. For faster growth, we are therefore also open to partnerships and co-owners,” Landsmann said.

Uhde is part of Thyssenkrupp’s Multi-Tracks segment, which includes businesses that the company may not necessarily want to fully own, such as Nucera, the hydrogen joint venture with Italy’s De Nora that could be listed at some point.

In the area of plant engineering, Uhde’s competitors include Technip (EPA:) Energies BV, Bechtel Corp and Fluor Corp (NYSE:).

($1 = 0.9258 euros)

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By Reuters