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Salini Impregilo buys Seli unit in Denmark 6 Aug 2015

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk

Italian construction major Salini Impregilo has bought the Denmark-based arm of Italian tunnelling firm Seli SpA in a strategic move to further strengthen its underground construction operations and bid more aggressively for additional international contracts.

Financial terms of the acquisition of Seli Tunneling Denmark ApS were not disclosed.

Seli Tunneling Denmark has been working as a subcontractor to the Salini Impregilo-led joint venture building the Cityringen extension of Copenhagen’s Metro.

Salini Impregilo and Seli Tunneling Denmark are working together on the Copenhagen Metro Cityringen extension
Salini Impregilo and Seli Tunneling Denmark are working together on the Copenhagen Metro Cityringen extension

In a series of written responses to questions from TunnelTalk, Salini Impregilo said that Seli Tunneling Denmark is to stay focused on Cityringen, which is its current main contract, but added that opportunities to expand internationally would be explored soon for the new unit.

Formerly a wholly-owned unit of the Seli group, Seli Tunneling Denmark has been the key underground construction player in the Copenhagen Metro Team (CMT) JV building the US$3.8 billion circular extension to the subway in the heart of the Danish capital. The client, Metroselskabet, awarded the JV a €1.7 billion contract involving construction of twin tube running tunnels, 17 new underground stations and a crossover cavern below a lake.

Salini Impregilo’s acquisition of Seli Tunneling Denmark was completed in June and undertaken via a subsidiary company, registered in The Netherlands – Impregilo International Infrastructure NV.

The acquisition is for ownership of Seli Tunneling Denmark as a legal entity which is registered in Denmark and expected to remain so over the short term at least, and includes all its staff, know-how and equipment on the Cityringen tunnelling works, TunnelTalk was told.

Daniele Cascianelli, Project Director of Salini Impregilo-led Cityringen JV
Daniele Cascianelli, Project Director of Salini Impregilo-led Cityringen JV

Salini Impregilo leads the CMT JV, and its Project Director, Daniele Cascianelli, told TunnelTalk that a commercial opportunity arose to buy the JV’s tunnelling subcontractor, explaining that “even if Salini Impregilo covers tunnelling activities elsewhere in the group, special knowledge, skills and resources in this field are always an added value to the company’s know-how. In particular, the purchase of Seli Tunneling Denmark brings to the Salini Impregilo Group a highly qualified company in technical and organisational matters, with a very positive safety records and an ability to handle successfully labour relations with unions and other stakeholders.”

On Salini Impregilo’s plans for the new unit, Cascianelli said that Seli Tunneling Denmark is “an independent commercial entity” and added “this situation may be kept but a different strategy may develop depending on market conditions and the development of the business. At moment, Seli Tunneling Denmark is a fully established, recognised and respected Danish company. The main task is, and remains, completing the Cityringen successfully and all organisational aspects are now aimed to achieve this important and prestigious goal. However, Seli Tunneling Denmark is a very valuable asset for Salini Impregilo and future developments are far from being excluded.”

Seli Tunneling Denmark’s Managing Director Violo, told TunnelTalk that recent milestones on Cityringen include completionin early 2015 of the twin running tunnels in the south section with daily advance rates up to 28m and a best month of more than 500m. On this section, we managed to mine through a benzene contaminated area,” explained Violo.

Valerio Violo is head of Seli Tunneling Denmark
Valerio Violo is head of Seli Tunneling Denmark

The two TBMs on the section have since been refurbished and are at the Nørrebroparken shaft ready for re-launch around late August to bore the tunnels in the north section, from Nørrebroparken shaft to Østersøgade station.

Violo said the longer running tunnel drives in the north west section of the metro circle are nearing completion on their counter-clockwise route towards Sønder Boulevard on the completed south section. The best daily and monthly advances recorded are 32m and 517m, respectively, “which is really impressive”, said Violo, given there were many box stations to cross and the shields were up to 4km from the portal.

CMT JV is set to restart boring with these second two machines in about October on the final eastern section, running clockwise from Østersøgade to Copenhagen main rail station.

While Salini Impregilo plans for the future organisation and expansion of its tunnelling resources with Seli Tunneling Denmark on the team, the construction group itself was formed only as recently as early 2013 through Italian firm Salini’s takeover of its larger compatriot, Impregilo.

Salini Impregilo plans to keep Seli Tunneling Denmark focused on Copenhagen Cityringen but will look soon for more international contracts
Salini Impregilo plans to keep Seli Tunneling Denmark focused on Copenhagen Cityringen but will look soon for more international contracts

The merged construction group has a range of infrastructure and tunnelling projects across Europe and worldwide. On underground construction alone, in addition to Cityringen the group’s work includes a metro in the Middle East, sewer tunnels in the US, and major rail tunnel works for the Brenner Base Tunnel and a major project in Italy.

Salini Impregilo’s opportunity to buy Seli Tunneling Denmark emerged from a major restructuring and disposal programme undertaken by Seli SpA, the renowned Italian tunnelling and TBM manufacturer.

Divesting the business unit in Denmark is Seli SpA’s second major disposal. Last year it established and sold Seli Overseas SpA, a subsidiary company into which were transferred some staff and assets, and some contracts, but not the Cityringen subcontract.

Seli Overseas SpA was bought by major Italian contractor Grandi Lavori Fincosit SpA (GLF), which plans to push beyond its domestic base and expand internationally. GLF’s staged acquisition of Seli Overseas SpA was completed earlier this year, as reported by TunnelTalk.

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