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[Herald Interview] AERIX eyes China air quality market

AERIX, a leading South Korean solution provider for air pollution control and protection, is stepping up its efforts to enter China as the country is poised to raise the bar for air quality improvement from 2016.

“The company has set its sights on the growing business opportunities in Chinese power generation and manufacturing sectors,’’ AERIX CEO Kim Kun-ho said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

More specifically, the company will target China’s coal-powered plants and other industrial plants like steel mills, to offer its homegrown air quality improvement devices like bag filters and operations and maintenance services for those facilities. 
AERIX CEO Kim Kun-ho (AERIX)
AERIX CEO Kim Kun-ho (AERIX)

“In addition, we expect the government-level environment projects between Korea and China, to be launched this year, will be helpful for the firm’s business expansion in China,’’ he said.

AERIX, acquired by New York-based private equity firm Clearwater Capital Partners in 2007, entered the Chinese market in 2011 by providing dust collection facilities to POSCO’s steel plant, located in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province.

POSCO has been AERIX’s biggest client for around 40 years since its foundation in 1976.

“The long-term partnership with the global steelmaker helps us to sharpen our edge over global rivals not only in developing air pollution control and prevention devices but also related-professional consulting services like O&M,’’ Kim said.

Based on the company’s experience with POSCO, it has driven business diversification at home and abroad since the ownership change.

“For instance, AERIX has provided its air pollution control solutions to power plants being constructed by South Korean builders overseas,’’ Kim said.

Last year, the company also introduced a rental business model for the first time in the industry, targeting the cost-conscious small-and-mid-sized plants at home.

“Our goal is to become a global “hidden champion’’ in our business segment,” he said.

“Considering the growth potential at home and abroad, we expect the company sales to expand to 300 billion won ($271 million) in five years, a threefold increase from 100 billion won last year.”

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)
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