A few days after the announcement of Engineering's shareholding reorganization, which saw the Group confirm its role as an aggregator of Italian technological excellences, a first acquisition in the field of Products and Services for the District heating and Heat market was signed. An extremely strategic segment for the increasingly important efforts made by Governments and industries, as well as for the growing attention of investors towards environmental sustainability.
Engineering, in fact, acquires FDL Servizi, a historic IT company based in Breno, in the province of Brescia, whose suite of "Sistema Servizio Energia (Energy Service System)" Products constitutes a reference point in the market for the operation and management of technological energy plants, whether thermal power plants, cogeneration plants, cooling systems and district heating networks, including with the integrated use of renewable energy.
FDL started working on the development of software able to offer features related to the management of district heating and energy services at the end of the nineties, well before the liberalization of the energy sector, thanks also to the municipalized ASM Brescia (today A2A), one of the first companies to identify district heating plants from renewable sources as a decisive key to open up new sustainability objectives, initiating an actual cultural change in the industry. In recent years, under the guidance of founder Fausto Romelli, FDL has continued to invest and has developed a solution capable of satisfying the different needs of all the main operators who over time have focused on this type of service: A2A S.p.A.; Carbotermo S.p.A.; Gruppo Egea S.p.A.; Iren Energia e Rinnovabili; Città Metropolitana di Torino and other Lombardy provinces.
Sistema Servizio Energia is a software solution designed to meet the important environmental challenges of Energy Service Companies in the private sector, Utilities - which manage innovative networks of district heating and energy plants - and Local Public Administrations - which intend to monitor and control the energy efficiency of their buildings and the progress of projects to reduce consumption. In fact, the solution proposed by FDL is complete and integrated, and allows the planning, management and control of energy plants to achieve the technical, environmental, regulatory and economic objectives, increasingly necessary for being awarded public tenders. With Sistema Servizio Energia it is possible to manage the billing of the services offered, also complying with the maintenance requirements laid down by the control bodies, monitoring energy consumption in relation to the service offered and the climatic conditions detected, identifying critical issues and actions for improvement and energy saving, fully complying with the directives issued by the Autorità di Regolazione per Energia Reti Ambiente (ARERA - Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy Networks and Environment).
FDL is already able to offer an extremely complete solution but the growth potential of the sector requires a strength of development and integration which only a synergy with a Group like Engineering can ensure.
In particular, the segment of District Heating (and District Cooling) from renewable sources, is still controlled by a few operators who have grasped its value, but the important incentives and investments which are being released at European level as part of the European Commission’s Green Deal priority plan, which aims to manage the transition that will make Europe the first carbon neutral continent by 2050, will facilitate the construction / conversion of plants, accelerating their spread internationally and the resulting benefit in CO2 reduction, which several forecasts estimate at hundreds of millions of tons each year.
Even looking within the domestic borders alone, the potential development of the District heating and District cooling market is extremely interesting. According to the latest report dedicated to the Energy Service Company segment, at the end of 2017 there were 345 district heating systems in operation, with a 12% increase in district heating municipalities; district heating substations grew by 14% to 11,000 units and the volume increased by 9%, amounting to 29 million cubic meters, with a decrease in energy input from district heating systems powered by fossil fuels, counterbalanced by a very sustained increase in networks powered by renewable sources. An evolution that mainly affects the northern areas of the country, and which still leaves a great deal of room for growth both in the north and in the south, where District cooling plants may find a great use.
Moreover, in addition to what has already been recorded by the Energy Service Companies, the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) has given District Heating a significant role in pursuing the objectives of sustainable development and energy saving, in particular by envisaging an additional extension of the District Heating and Cooling networks at national level and by emphasizing the spread of increasingly efficient systems.
Vincenzo Tartuferi, Director General Telco & Utilities of Engineering, said: “We are moving in a segment whose numbers and growth potential are extremely interesting and make clear the importance of software and processes which can ensure efficient management and total control of energy plants, energy efficiency investments and networks, together with the measurement of performance in terms of environmental impact and economic return. The acquisition of FDL Servizi fits perfectly into the development strategy of our offer to accelerate and amplify the sustainability impact of our clients and is consistent with our mission as an aggregator of Italian technological excellences. In a world that is finally becoming increasingly sensitive towards the subject, energy plants are becoming even more strategic and our Group, from the business division dedicated to Energy to the subsidiary Municipia, committed to accompanying municipalities of all sizes towards the future, intends to continue to make an active contribution to their evolution”.
Fausto Romelli, who will continue to lead the activities of FDL Servizi as Chief Executive Officer upon joining the Engineering Group, stated: “In recent years our company has been able to foresee the change which would affect the energy industry, and thanks to the collaboration with some of the most visionary operators in the sector has been able to develop a solution which can offer real added value. Now is the time to give FDL the strength and all the resources that are required for this growth to explode, seizing the great opportunity that the market offers. These resources have been found in the Engineering Group which, thanks to its great experience and to the numerous customers with whom it has solid and important relations, will certainly amplify the scope of our solution, favoring the decision-making processes in relation to the allocation of investments and to the construction of new generation plants, as well as to the awarding of contracts, supported by the maximum control that our software offers not only in daily management, but also in the precise control of the economic return on the investments made”.
G Corporate Advisory, with a team led by Dr Giorgio Guenzani and with the collaboration of the Studio Rivetta of Edolo, assisted the seller Fausto Romelli who, at the outcome of the transaction, retains a minority interest.
Engineering was assisted by E&Y in the Due Diligence process.