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Chinese TICA Group signs global joint venture with oil-free chiller founder

Montreal-based Smardt Chiller Group, chaired by Turbocor founder Roger Richmond-Smith, eyes whole building solutions combining chillers and AHUs

Montreal-based oil-free centrifugal cooling specialist Smardt Chiller Group has signed a joint venture with TICA Group, claimed to be China’s market leader in high-efficiency ventilation solutions. TICA holds a controlling interest in the new joint venture, which plans to accelerate development of comprehensive oil-free solutions across a range of applications.

The new joint venture will continue to develop the Smardt and TICA brands through its factories in Montreal, Melbourne, New York, Guangzhou and Stuttgart, where immediate expansion is slated, the firms say. The new group expects to have a combined turnover of $1 billion. 

Smardt’s existing global distribution channels will add a new range of TICA air-handling units from 2019 onwards, and it expects to expand its oil-free centrifugal chiller product range in China and globally via TICA’s Chinese facilities. 

Smardt was founded in Montreal in 2005 by Turbocor founder Roger Richmond-Smith, who remains as chairman and CEO, working closely with Jiang Li, chairman and chief executive of TICA. No changes in senior personnel are planned.

Mr Richmond-Smith said: “I’m delighted that this joint venture is now in place. Our last joint venture, between Turbocor and Danfoss, powered the worldwide development of the breakthrough oil-free magnetic bearing technology we pioneered in Australia 25 years ago. This TICA-Smardt joint venture aims to bring chilled water plant and air handling systems together, driving oil-free technology through to optimised whole-building solutions. Advances in artificial intelligence make this prospect totally feasible.”

Jiang Li added: “The joint venture brings added value to all our larger existing customers as they struggle to minimise their energy costs. Our work in larger systems – airports, metros, healthcare, electronics, clean rooms, data centres – all indicates very large potentials for oil-free technology in driving down total costs of ownership. There’s no overlap between TICA’s and Smardt’s existing resources, and enormous potential synergies in better applying our extensive R&D facilities, in China as well as with international partners. For the new group’s 2500 people, the new joint venture means increased opportunities in many new areas”.

“There’s a potential revolution here for our customers, just waiting for us to make it happen,” Mr Jiang concluded

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