Imabari moves to take stake in Hitachi Zosen’s marine engine business

Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding Co and Hitachi Zosen Corporation have signed an agreement on the acquisition of a 35 percent stake in the marine engine business that would be spun off from Hitachi Zosen.

Hitachi Zosen, which has been working in the marine engine sector since 1940 as the only licensee of MAN Energy Solutions and Winterthur Gas & Diesel in Japan, plans to keep 65 percent in the new engine manufacturing venture.

The new company, yet to be named, is set to launch its operations in April 2023, and it would be focused on manufacturing marine engines and after-sales services. The establishment of the spin-off is dependent upon the pending regulatory approvals.

The announcement is being made when the development of marine engines, especially those that can run on alternative fuels, such as ammonia and hydrogen, is growing in importance. The move is also relevant in the context of the ever-fiercer competition the Japanese shipbuilding sector faces domestically and from its Chinese and South Korean rivals. Consolidation has been a key strategy for Japanese companies to strengthen their sector in order to be able to compete on the international shipbuilding front.

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The strategic combination is also important for Imabari as technological standards for marine engines including those related to fuel conversion and the development of zero-emission ships are expected to become stricter in the coming years.

This basic agreement will enable both Imabari Shipbuilding and Hitachi Zosen to achieve a stable supply and procurement of marine engines. By strengthening the development system, we aim to improve the corporate value of Imabari Shipbuilding and Hitachi Zosen,” Imabari said.

The shipbuilder is working with industry partners and engine manufacturer MAN Energy solutions on the development of ammonia-powered ships.

The cooperation builds on the work MAN Energy Solutions has already made on developing an ammonia-powered engine.

This work will serve as the groundwork for developing the design of the vessel including that of the ammonia storage tank, fuel supply system, and a series of systems for the main engine.

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