Bladon Micro Turbine (“Bladon”), is a leading UK player that is into the manufacturing of Micro Turbine Gensets (MTGs), that are used for supplying power to remote telecom towers. The telecom industry is growing, and therefore the need for towers of mobile phones is also growing. The MTGs developed by Bladon will be providing power to these towers and can be relied upon for supplying electricity round the clock over the whole year. Bladon used to manufacture the lightweight generators initially to cater to the demand of the car industry and wanted to create demand for its gas turbines, which can replace the use of piston engine in the automotive industry. Bladon, apart from the UK, supplies its products to Norway, Africa and Australia.
The company had delivered its first commercial MTGs to be used for African towers in 2018, where the companies were facing the issues related with the theft of fuel and the safety of the employees while servicing the towers. Meanwhile, the company in its plan to expand itself is going to raise a fund of £80m, which will be used to open a factory in Dubai and to increase the workforce at Coventry headquarters from the present 135 numbers to 200 by the end of the year. The factory situated in West Midlands has the capacity to accommodate a maximum of 8,000 engines in a year, which means the huge potential of the factory. In order to raise a fund of approximately £80m, the company has started the roadshow.
Bladon has already raised funds of approximately £60m till now from individual investors and Tata, the Indian company that owns Jaguar Land Rover. Tata had already worked with Bladon on electric vehicles before. Another major existing investor of Bladon is Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund ICD. The probable investors could be from China, Hong Kong and the Middle East, where the investors have shown interest in the fundraising of Bladon. However, the UK institutional investors are reluctant to go for this fundraising as they are sceptical about the problems to be created due to the Brexit effect.
Meanwhile, Bladon had worked with Jaguar Land Rover for the identification of a location in overseas for setting up a second factory to expand the existing capacity. The company had earlier considered Morocco and eastern Europe but finally decided to set up the second factory in Dubai.
Additionally, Bladon will get the demand for its gas turbine technology in Asia where the investors are looking for the partnership on the longer-term basis for the development of the technology in the power market. The company has already developed the Bladon engine further based on gas turbine technology and is currently developing the air bearings, heat exchangers and high-speed electrical machines, into a 12kw micro turbine generator spinning at up to 140,000 revs per minute, which can also be used for mass production at low-cost.
Bladon and Grindserve had already entered into a production supply agreement. Grindserve is known for offering critical power infrastructure solutions internationally. The partnership was signed in Dubai during the influential TowerXchange Meetup MENA 2019. This event was organized for the leading companies in the telecom towers industry. The partnership involves a contract of multi-million pound and having a duration of five years. As a result of this contract, Bladon’s MTG12 will be merged into GRIDSERVE’s 12kw solar hybrid power solution, and the new product will be called SolarEnergyCentre (SEC12).
Moreover, this partnership further will strengthen Bladon’s efforts for providing for the longer term, distributed power that is highly efficient to the telecom towers all over the world. The new product, the SEC12-MT will include Bladon’s technology which will be paired with bifacial solar panels and lithium-ion batteries for the production of a hybrid unit that will be capable of providing reliable, reducing the operating cost, power generation and will not create any pollution created by the telecom towers.
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