Vítkovice engineering group lined up for major New Caledonia power plant contract

Illustrative photo: Czech Television

Czech engineering group Vítkovice has reportedly won a major order for building a new coal-fired power plant on the Pacific island of New Caledonia. The order could open up other possibilities in this previously not very promising part of the world for the Ostrava-based company.

Illustrative photo: Czech Television
The recent impression has been that things have not been going so well for the country’s biggest engineering group, Vítkovice, or at least its boss and major shareholder Jan Světlík. He was recently delivered a court ruling ordering the payment of 1.7 billion crowns to former shareholder David Beran. The long dispute is still not over though Beran now appears close to victory.

A project to build a massive coal-fired power plant in Turkey appears to have hit delays with the two 145 MW capacity units now forecast to be completed by the end of this year. And Vítkovice is one of the major losers from the decision of power company ČEZ earlier this year to abandon the tender for two new nuclear power plants at Temelín.

But on other fronts the company has been successful in picking up new orders and one of the most significant was reported by the business daily, Hospodářske Noviny, on Thursday. It said that the Czech engineering giant has agreed to supply two coal-fired power plants on the Pacific island of New Caledonia. The coal plants are for the local nickel mining company SNL which must replace its existing power plants because they will soon no longer comply with stricter EU pollution rules.

Vítkovice says the contract to the tune of 8.0-9.0 billion crowns should provide work and orders for other Czech companies as well, such as Plzeň-based Doosan. The New Caledonia contract, the island is part of the overseas territories governed by France, is significant in that it is far outside the customary worldwide markets where Vítkovice usually wins major contracts. It is thus regarded as something of a reference for future potential expansion in the region.

Vítkovice is also gearing up for a parallel contract of similar significant size, to help construct a seamless steel pipe plant costing a total $ US 1.0 billion in Saudi Arabia. The plant is part of the oil rich country’s moves to diversify its industrial base and move away from reliance on energy exports.