The first half of 2020 is probably going to go down in history as the period of the Coronavirus. This has had, and is probably going to continue to have, a big impact on social development. Swedish Stirling is no exception of course. We have re-prioritized and even postponed some company projects in order to address long, drawn-out financial concerns, as well as adjusted our work methods to the current situation.
I can however state that the pandemic has led to many sectors starting to look for methods to quickly streamline their activities. This resulted in a sharp increase in interest for Swedish Stirling and the PWR BLOK in the last part of, and, shortly thereafter, we were able to sign memorandum of understanding and declarations of intent for sales in the SEK billions with both Samancor and Richards Bay Alloys, and at the beginning of August also with Glencore.
The work during the period and our focus on the future can easily be summarized into three elements:
1. Full commercial roll-out in South Africa: There is even keener interest for the PWR BLOK in the South African ferrochrome industry. Several operators in the country have decided to terminate projects in which alternative uses for their residual gas were being researched, in favor of investing in the PWR BLOK.
In addition, new operators, such as Richards Bay Alloys, have decided to restart installations that had previously been shut down. This means that the total sales potential of the PWR BLOK to the ferrochrome industry in South Africa can be revised upwards.
The increased interest from several operators in
the country, as well as the recruitment of Dennis Andersson as Head of Sales and Marketing, provides optimal conditions to convert declarations of intent into real business much quicker than before, and moreover acquire new business.
2. Launching in new markets: Interest in the PWR BLOK increased significantly in the first half of the year, with several interesting inquiries and leads from operators in the production of different ferro alloys around the world. We have, during this period, entered into discussions with several of them, and the strengthening of the company’s sales and marketing force means that we can start launching the PWR BLOK more actively in new markets.
3. Starting serial production: During the period, we continued development work on the PWR BLOK generation 3, which is the version with which we are going to start serial production. Preparations for ramping up production are going to continue into the autumn and production is expected to start as we move into 2021. We have also signed agreements with a number of new suppliers, which means that ultimately, we can both scale up production volumes faster and reduce production costs further.
The installation of the pilot plant at TC Smelter commenced during the period.
In May we also conducted an internal employee survey for the first time, in both Sweden and South Africa. For a technology-intensive company like Swedish Stirling, it is extremely important to be an attractive employer and thus be able to recruit the right employees. 100 percent of the employees responded. It is not without pride that
I can state that the company consistently achieved very high results.
In conclusion the first half of 2020 brought with it several events of enormous future importance for Swedish Stirling’s continued development. The contract that was signed with Glencore in February for 25 PWR BLOK units. Founder and CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek’s decision to invest 92 MSEK in Swedish Stirling. The recruitment of a global Head of Sales and Marketing. Furthermore, the memorandum of understanding and letters of intent shortly after the end of the half year with Samancor, Richards Bay Alloys and Glencore for sales of up to a total of 211 PWR BLOK units, and not least a revision in pricing giving clients a return on investment after 5 years. We have a successful first half of 2020 behind us and a very exciting future ahead.
Swedish Stirling AB