WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE

Dubai 2020 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

A global leading supplier of pumps, valves, system solutions, and services for fluid transport and control, KSB has stood for quality, excellence, and reliability for nearly 150 years.

Sven Baumgarten
BIOGRAPHY

Sven Baumgarten joined KSB Aktiengesellschaft (now KSB SE & Co. KGaA) in 1997 and started his career in the R&D division. After various management positions in the global project business organization, he became managing director of KSB Pumps and Valves (Pty) Ltd. in South Africa, as well as vice president sub-Saharan Africa from 2015-2019. Since 2019, he has been Managing Director of KSB Middle East FZE in the UAE and is also in charge of KSB Middle East, Africa, and Russia as Regional Executive Officer. Baumgarten holds an engineering degree as well as a PhD in fluid dynamics, both from Braunschweig University of Technology.

What innovative developments is the company currently working on?
KSB has a broad range of services and products, all related in some way to the transportation of water and other fluids. We combine 150 years of experience as a company with the newest technology, and digitalization is a major part of our scope. We supply equipment, such as pumps that run all day and night in places like pumping stations, chemical factories, and buildings to provide water and other fluids for various systems. Making all our products reliable, efficient, and state of the art is our main focus. Pumps themselves are not new technology, though there is still room for improvement—this where we are innovative at KSB. We have engineering hubs all over the world, including in Germany, France, China, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and North America, to mention a few. We use all these hubs to improve our products.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is working to increase sustainability through energy innovation and water management. What kind of opportunities does that create for KSB?
Many of our pumps are used by authorities such as DEWA because we provide top-notch service. Whenever we install a pump at one of its plants, pumping stations, or other facilities, our people can service it directly here. We do not need to bring in people from overseas to do this work. We also offer them preventive maintenance, frame contracts, and additional equipment. Digital technology can detect problems with pumps and provide early warnings of the need for preventive maintenance or options for more efficient operation. Although Dubai and the UAE in general have a lot of capacity in terms of energy production, energy is still expensive here. One can save a lot if they make their equipment more efficient and reliable.

How does Dubai play into the company's expansion and future opportunities in the region?
From Russia to South Africa and Morocco to Pakistan, Dubai is our center and headquarters for the entire region. We have a massive responsibility, working in 80 countries, with 16 companies, and four factories under our scope. We do not coordinate everything from Dubai, though we oversee it from here. This demonstrates how important Dubai is for us. We have factories in Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The company here is focused on sales, handling our business in the UAE together with our service company in Abu Dhabi. Because of our product portfolio, we can handle all the different markets. In the Middle East, our strength has always been water supply and transportation, including desalination and the energy sector. Many of the power plants in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have a tremendous amount of KSB equipment. In terms of geographic footprint, we are seeing more business in Iraq now, and business is increasing in the UAE too. We had some bad times in the Middle East, especially in 2018, when our entire business went down. Now it is picking up again.

What are KSB's strategic priorities for 2020, and where would you like to take the company as a new arrival to Dubai?
The main idea for 2020 is to stabilize the business and perhaps to do some smart rearrangements and reorganizations with our companies to better support smaller countries. For a long time, the focus was on the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. We already have great business in Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and other Middle Eastern countries, but here we can definitively do more. The idea is to grow the contributions of smaller markets while stabilizing our business in the bigger markets at the same time. We are discussing doing more for in-country value and the Made in UAE brand. KSB is not really producing here, though we are thinking about ways to contribute more in the future with added value in Dubai, such as equipment assembly and so on.