Signing ceremony marks new era in independence Sitech

The independence of Sitech services, responsible for the maintenance and modernisation of the chemical plants at Chemelot, entered a new phase on 25 April 2023 with a special Signing Ceremony at Chateau St Gerlach. This milestone was marked by the signing of the necessary documents for the new cooperation between Sitech, the plants and Chemelot and the sale of the shares of the service activities to new owner Ebert HERA Esser Group, a leading German player in the sector. A new strategic partner is also being sought for the asset activities this year.

Sitech will retain its unique multidisciplinary services as an independent company within the Ebert HERA Esser Group, with the vast majority of its approximately 850 employees continuing to work for the service branch. With the split, Sitech is strengthening its positioning by broadening its field of operations and retaining its unique multidisciplinary approach in maintenance, Turn Arounds and projects with broad brownfield engineering knowledge. In combination with Ebert HERA, Sitech’s executive clout is significantly strengthened, with opportunities on and outside Chemelot.

Beyond Signing Ceremony marks a new phase
As CEO of Sitech, Marc Dassen has worked over the past few years to take Sitech to the next phase. A complicated and challenging period, which on 25 April resulted in final approval from the owners, splitting Sitech into two companies, with the service arm being recruited by Germany’s Ebert HERA. Beyond marks a new phase for all our activities and our business. The creation of an independent asset company, for example, paves the way for the development of a financially strong development company that can play a crucial role in Chemelot’s transition. The factories will regain control themselves and Sitech’s service arm, together with Ebert HERA, can roll out its sought-after strategy and thus remain the technical service provider at Chemelot for current and future asset owners, predicts Dassen. “And Ebert HERA is taking the next big step in its strategy to become number one in industrial services for the process industry in the ARRRA region. The merger with Sitech ensures that in Ebert HERA can offer an integrated solution in one fell swoop.”

Beyond is not just about the separation and sale of Sitech. It is completely redesigning the form of partnership with our customers.”

-Marc Dassen, CEO Sitech services

The real work starts now
Beyond, the extensive demerger and acquisition project may be just about complete, Dassen says, but the real change is only now about to start. “After all, Beyond is not about the separation and sale of Sitech. It is about completely redesigning the form of partnership with our customers. The new cooperation contracts with the plants and, of course, the Chemelot site for fire & security services will form the foundation for this. Together we will ‘go Beyond’ and work towards a better future for the chemical industry at Chemelot.”

Relationship becomes commercialised
Gert-Jan de Geus, CEO of OCI, shareholder at the ‘old Sitech’ and at the asset branch, is happy with the new future for the plants and for Sitech. After almost 20 years, the model that formed the base for the partnership is in need of replacement. Many different parties have entered the site, it is no longer ‘one size fits all’. The relationship with clients is becoming more commercial, which means that Sitech will develop services demanded and paid for by clients. Ebert HERA brings reinforcement of craftsmanship in execution. In doing so, we create interesting jobs, but also retain experience at the site that we will desperately need in the years to come.”

The relationship with clients is becoming more commercial, which means that Sitech will develop services demanded and paid for by clients.”

-Gert-Jan de Geus, CEO OCI

Good, new perspective for employees
Deputy Supervisory Board chairman Michiel Peters also thinks the real work starts now. “Beyond is only starting now, even though we have been working intensively for over 3 years to get to this moment,” he insists. “Sitech has achieved a breakthrough after more than 3 years of negotiations with partners and management. From now on, all parties have more freedom to do business.” At the same time, the goal of still cooperating intensively in five years’ time remains, Peters emphasised. “Not because it is contractually required, but because it is a good choice.”

The independence of Sitech offers employees a good, new perspective, crucial for continuity and continuous improvement of services to the plants.”

-Michiel Peters, deputy chairman of the Supervisory Board

Owner with deep knowledge, focus and vision
CEO Pieter Boon of AnQore speaks on behalf of the former shareholders. He too says that the sale of the services to Ebert HERA marks an important turning point in Sitech’s existence. Until now, Sitech operated in an environment in which customers were also shareholders, which was a complicated construction. Boon characterises that situation as a dead end. ”

The challenges of making Chemelot sustainable require an owner with long-term commitment, in-depth expertise and the financial resources to make Chemelot take that important step.”

-Pieter Boon, CEO AnQore

Boon points out that many companies at Chemelot have experienced in the past 10 years after acquisitions how important it is to have an owner who has in-depth knowledge of the business and who wants to grow the business with focus and vision. “That is why it is also so nice that Sitech services now gets such an owner with Ebert HERA.” He hopes that an ambitious new owner will also be found for Sitech’s asset branch: “The challenges of making Chemelot sustainable require an owner with long-term commitment, in-depth expertise and the financial resources to make Chemelot take that important step. The shareholders will focus on this task in the coming period.”

Appreciation for the Works Council
Finally, Boon expresses his appreciation for the role of Sitech’s Works Council during the process. Without the critical, constructive attitude of the Works Council, he believes it would never have succeeded: “In particular, the Works Council’s firm condition that there had to be a new owner at the time of the demerger made it possible for us to sign off together at Chateau St Gerlach on Tuesday 25 April.”

This acquisition allows Ebert HERA and Sitech to join forces as service partners and contribute to a sustainable, safe and competitive process industry.”

-Beate Ebert, CEO Ebert HERA

Convinced of joint growth
Beate Ebert, CEO and owner of Ebert HERA is particularly pleased with Sitech’s acquisition. Her company acquired Sitech to further expand its position as a leading service provider in the Benelux and Germany, she says. “Ebert HERA is already currently known as a major player in the process industry in Germany and the Benelux. We also already have extensive experience at Chemelot. This acquisition allows Ebert HERA and Sitech to join forces as service partners and contribute to a sustainable, safe and competitive process industry.” Together, the organisations offer multidisciplinary solutions, ranging from engineering to implementation, to maintain plants more efficiently and achieve energy transition. Ebert is confident that with Sitech as its new central location and new functions at the geographical heart of its operations, Ebert HERA will achieve strong growth in the Benelux and Germany. “The largest business activity is in the Netherlands. The company is determined to be successful with the acquisition and serve its customers in the best possible way. Sitech is now part of the Ebert HERA family,” states the proud new owner.

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