Public Sector Proximity Provides Positive OutlookBy Cas Biekmann | Mon, 12/06/2021 - 10:37
Q: How has Ingeteam’s operation grown and changed over the past year?
A: Despite pandemic challenges, we performed well and executed some landmark projects in Mexico last year, which included providing 48 power stations for Iberdrola’s Cuyoaco solar project. Despite our Spanish manufacturing plant experiencing a temporary halt in operations, we delivered and developed solutions on time. In the area of operations and maintenance (O&M) we expanded our experience with companies we had worked with in the past. For instance, Ingeteam signed a contract with Enel for four projects. At the end of 2020, we were pleased to sign a contract to provide control and protection systems for the state utility CFE. This was an important historical achievement for the company in Mexico. It was an incredibly challenging year for everyone but for the company, we can safely say we did quite well.
Q: How has the company adapted to the new Labor Reform?
A: The reform took us and many others by surprise. It was difficult to assess what the effects of the Labor Reform would be and how we should implement it. Nevertheless, the company responded nimbly, especially around subcontracting. Ingeteam continued to provide its specialized services and that gave our clients peace of mind. The company itself had few issues in adapting, since we do not do any major insourcing or outsourcing. However, it did affect some of our clients in their ability to outsource certain activities. Overall, it has provided Ingeteam with the possibility to gain more contracts since other companies were not as agile in their adaptation processes. The reform benefits employees at the end of the day, so we hope it improves the quality of life and working conditions for Mexico’s labor force.
Q: How would you assess the proposal to reform the energy sector and how could it affect Ingeteam’s business if voted through?
A: It is still early when it comes to the reform proposal. It is not yet clear if it will pass through Congress. What is clear is that the proposal could affect us through our clients in the private sector because it generates more uncertainty. Many projects and investments have been stalled. The developments here are carefully monitored by companies like ours. People do not yet know what the implications will be, especially for private renewable energy companies. Despite this uncertainty, our contracts with the public sector mean that we are better positioned. Nevertheless, we are watching these developments closely.
Q: What are the main differentiators that helped the company get this major contract with CFE for protection, control and mediation systems?
A: It has been challenging getting close to CFE because the utility historically chooses its habitual providers. However, in the past, Ingeteam has worked to change CFE’s mind about the value that our company’s products can provide. The fact that our products have been approved by the Laboratory of Equipment and Materials Testing (LAPEM) was an important deciding factor. The project itself was difficult too. For example, we had to deliver 100 pieces of equipment in a short amount of time. After we delivered them, CFE had a positive opinion about us and our products, as well as how we engage with our clients and optimize our processes.
Q: How is Ingeteam expanding and seeing opportunity in the O&M segment now that more projects are running out of warranty, especially in solar energy?
A: We started by offering O&M to wind turbine manufacturers, such as Siemens Gamesa and Acciona. Since then, we have taken a step forward and now we are working directly with energy utilities. We offer a wider range of services and assume a higher share of risk. So far, the reception has been excellent. In the solar energy industry, we are positioned very well and provide services to power plants, whether they have our equipment installed or not. This year, we have won new contracts for solar power plants so it has been a positive experience in terms of our development and productivity. We have already overcome our learning curve in Mexico and have an established, effective structure that responds directly to the needs of our clients. This translates directly to the benefits we offer in our contracts.
Q: What will Ingeteam’s main focus be for 2022?
A: Since we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, we will not be looking to massively expand our contract base. Instead, we want to focus on executing our current contracts to the best of our ability, including our contract with CFE. We aim to partake in future tenders with the company. Even though this is the focus for now, Ingeteam will be prepared to take on new challenges once the sector takes off again. Some within our historical client base are looking for opportunities elsewhere. Our goal is to accompany our clients on their journey to countries such as Colombia, Brazil or Chile. In Mexico, Ingeteam and its 300 employees will remain as active as ever. We have been here since 1998 and have experienced many different circumstances. We understand that countries and their energy sectors experience highs and lows. Perhaps we are experiencing a low in Mexico but when this trend changes, we will be ready to take on the new challenges ahead. In any case, 2022 will be a special year for the company because we will celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary.
Ingeteam is a Spanish company that specializes in power and control electronics, such as inverters, frequency converters and controllers, including generators, motors and pumps. It also focuses on electric engineering and automation projects.