Timeless challenges are like exciting never-ending matches, with a distant start and that final triple whistle that is a long time in coming. In the meantime, you play frantically, refine your tactics, build actions that pre-empt your opponent, and win more and more ground. And then, when you look up at the scoreboard, you find that your overwhelming achievement has led to victory. This, to a great extent, is the summary of the game that MAIRE has been playing in the field of innovation for more than 50 years.
This is not a fanciful tale, but a corporate matter punctuated by the adherence to strict timing: the journey to the center of MAIRE's energy transition officially began in 2018 with the launch of NextChem, a novel move that shook up the market and made MAIRE the first Group in the industry to have a subsidiary dedicated to the green transition.
But one has to go much further back, to the 1970s, to get to the origins of MAIRE's attitude to the ecological transition, when the KT subsidiary was already intently working on hydrogen.
Tireless research has oriented the Group's daily routine toward innovation and technology, in an environment where ideas have the courage to shape novel concepts. Right up to, of course, the start of NextChem, created to make the energy transition a reality by focusing on areas of expertise adjacent to MAIRE's core business. So now it is time for innovative activities that rely on bio-components as raw materials, revolve around circularity or are aimed at reducing both carbon and emissions. A world in a state of perpetual motion.
Equipped for new challenges
From this narrative arises the presentation of MAIRE's future. The task that CEO Alessandro Bernini has undertaken is an important one, starting out with highlighting the achievements that have been made since NextChem's inception: «After nearly 5 years, MAIRE has enriched its know-how by acquiring valuable expertise and technologies regarding sustainable solutions. We have established key relationships and partnerships, which are the basis of innovation and development. Several proprietary technologies have been implemented, including green ammonia, circular hydrogen, and plastic compounds. All of this has been done by empowering traditional customers, reaching out to new ones, and expanding our geographic presence. As a result, we have improved our understanding of the trends underlying the energy transition and have been able to position the whole of MAIRE as an outstanding player in the energy transition. A Group effectively equipped for the evolving needs and challenges of the new world».
A challenge consisting of two words, energy transition, which for MAIRE is the past, present and future: «That insight regarding the emerging needs of customers, coupled with the rapidly evolving market, has now become a reality, with even stronger momentum – Bernini reiterated –. The energy transition is the macrotrend that will be with us forever. We were among the first and the few to realize the need for a paradigm shift. We are among a very few of the best to directly trigger change in the industry, and also, on a broader scale, throughout all of society. We want to be a role model. Our accumulated experience gives us an unprecedented opportunity to lead the market toward effective transformation. This market that is now facing global pressures which must be managed quickly».
Before going into the analysis of the new 10-year plan "Unbox the Future", Bernini started with the expected results for the current year: «In 2023 we will continue to grow across the board. In particular, the implementation of our new strategy should have a beneficial effect on the technology side, with an increase in its profitability. The execution of our existing contracts will lead to double-digit growth in revenues and EBITDA this year. We also anticipate a significant increase in operating cash flow that will enable MAIRE to cover the 2023 investment plan (which is expected to be 4 times larger than last year), distribute the proposed 2022 dividends to shareholders (amounting to 45 percent of consolidated net income), and maintain a solid net financial position in line with 2022».
We are enablers of innovation and energy transition, working alongside businesses to co-develop sustainable technologies and design integrated solutions in fertilizers, hydrogen, carbon capture & storage, fuels & chemicals, and polymers.Alessandro BerniniChief Executive Officer MAIRE
A perspective that is looking ahead to 2032
As for the decision to present a 10-year plan, Bernini substantiated it by explaining that the technological evolution emerging today will be at the center of further transformation for the next 5-10 years. «Technologies take time to be validated before they are ready for commercialization. It is for this reason – the CEO said – that today we are expanding our outlook to 2032: a period long enough to fully appreciate the implementation of our enhanced business strategy».
Referring to the large numbers expected, Bernini added: «I am happy to share that the Sustainable Technology Solutions division will have a remarkable development with an annual growth of 18 to 20%, confirming its role as a driver in the overall growth of the Group. EBITDA margins are expected to increase to 20-25%, given the higher value-added nature of these activities, and remain at these levels thereafter. Since most of our efforts are devoted to this area, investments will be concentrated on this business unit».
The future horizon outlined by Bernini also looks rosy in the Engeenering & Construction sector: «Integrated E&C solutions will lead the Groups's growth in volume throughout the lifecycle of the business plan. This momentum is mostly driven by projects generated by Technology Solutions – the CEO relayed – which will contribute up to one-third in 2032. Revenue growth will also be driven by the planned transition to blue and green solutions, which will reshape the Group's contract portfolio. EBITDA will almost double over this period, driven by several factors: first from the penetration into new markets with higher profitability (in new geographies and sectors), then from the growth of high-profitability services such as Feed and Operations and Maintenance, and finally from the opportunity to further capitalize on economies of scale».
As for investments, according to Bernini there will be growth «driven by co-investments in projects generated by Sustainable Technology Solutions, recurring investments to support digitization and the MET ZERO goal, and predominantly organic investments to support MAIRE's HR growth».
To implement the plan, the CEO highlighted that «MAIRE is ready to grow organically and recruit resources from the market, combining the acquisition of selected centers of expertise in high-potential areas. We count on going full steam ahead – Bernini specified – with our resources and teams, building on our distinctive operating model, structured in Competence Centers and Regional Centers. We will integrate resources and capabilities, with a planned growth of +30% by 2027 and +70% by 2032. The most significant add-on will occur in our core Engineering function, with an increase in capacity of more than 75%».
For some, the future comes down to the right words, ambitious numbers and, above all, DNA.
Reorganize to double in size