Full Steam Ahead Toward A Cleaner, More Efficient China

In this exclusive interview with China Daily, Will Latta, founder of LP Amina, one of HAO Capital’s investments in environmental and efficiency, talked about its unique technology and business model and the value adds that HAO brings to the company.

Cutting-edge technologies can help clean-up country’s coal-tarnished environment.

Just as pandas are attracted to bamboo, companies and individuals who are experts in coal-based clean technologies are being drawn to China in increasing numbers, by the lure of an industry estimated to be worth $25 billion globally.

That’s why William Latta, a former senior executive with Alstom Power, the world leader in conventional power generation equipment, came to the country five years ago.

Latta is the founder of the Beijing-based environmental engineering company LP Amina, which says it has developed technology that can vastly reduce the amount of pollution produced by burning coal.

According to the latest industry figures, about 70 percent of the country’s electricity supply comes from thermal power plants, or plants fueled by coal.

Latta’s company specializes in delivering complete cleaning solutions for power plants – particularly thermal power plants – while also making them more efficient.

Its key technology is a revolutionary system of getting rid of poisonous nitrous oxide gas. It eliminates the pollutant when coal is burning in a boiler, not only reducing the nitrous oxide produced by up to 65 percent, but also improving efficiency in the boiler’s energy output.

Latta said that as China’s energy industry continues to burn coal, LP Amina’s De-NOx technology is poised to clean up, literally and figuratively, as the government continues to target cleaner and more efficient ways of cutting emissions.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection announced in September last year that starting from January, all Chinese power plants should adopt measures to meet new national standards for nitrogen oxide emissions in two years.

“Coal is the most widely used energy source in the world and every country needs clean-coal technology.

“So when you develop a technology that is better than any others, it’s not hard for you to find customers,” he said.

Since 2009, when the De-NOx solution won its first client, Yixing-Union Cogeneration, LP Amina has completed 20 projects in China as power plants look for ways to control their gas emissions.

There are only two companies in China, according to Latta, that own such proven in-furnace technology: LP Amina and Yantai Longyuan Power Technology Co, a State-owned enterprise listed on Shenzhen’s new growth market, ChiNext.

China has the world’s largest number of coal-fired power plants, with more than 1,500 large and 4,500 small units in operation.

According to a study by HAO Capital, the Beijing-based private equity firm and an investor in LP Amina, 99 percent of those have yet to install a solution for their nitrous oxide emissions.

Based on conventional SCR/SNCR technology – the method of lessening nitrogen oxide emissions in conventional power plants that burn biomass, waste and coal – LP Amina’s systems are particularly tailored to provide solutions for the unique challenges facing the Chinese power industry, such as its use of high ash, and low volatile coals, Latta said.

LP Amina now has R&D engineers working in the United States and China, and Latta says there is great willingness in China for new technologies to be accepted by the coal and energy industries.

“We cooperate with many Chinese companies on new technologies, and we have also been able to sell our products and knowledge all over the world,” he said, adding that the average price of what would be considered a large-scale contract is $2 million.

In China, LP Amina has completed projects in various locations including Yixin, Jiangsu province; Xingtai, Hebei province; Fengtai, Anhui province; Guangzhou, Guangdong province; and in Beijing.

It has also completed two projects in the US, and is looking to expand into Mexico, South Korea, and Columbia.

Latta uses the example of Yixing-Union Cogeneration, a coal-fired power station in Yixing city, Jiangsu province, as being typical of what can be achieved, after cutting nitrous oxide emissions there by 50 percent.

Hu Zhijie, deputy general manager at the Yixing-Union plant said: “We had a great experience working with LP Amina in 2009 – we were amazed by the passion and technical expertise they put into this project.

“In the years since, we have developed a trusted relationship and that’s one of the reasons we have just awarded it three more contracts.”

Latta said in the short term, the company plans to set up three or four more R&D centers to further develop its technology.

The company is also working with the global company Bayer Technology Services to develop ways of better-using coal-based chemical resources.

LP Amina raised about $10 million from China-focused HAO Capital in 2010, and previously received money from Qiming Venture Partners, another local venture capital investment company.

Elaine Wong, HAO’s founding partner, said that it only invests in companies that are looking to expand.

She first met Latta in a Beijing restaurant in 2007, when he had just left Alstom and was planning to set up LP Amina.

“We were impressed by his technology background and his determination to make China cleaner,” Wong said.

“Of all De-NOx technologies available, we view his in-furnace solution as the best available to operate right in the heart of a boiler.”

Wong said HAO Capital’s support of LP Amina includes not only direct financial investment, but also access to its business contacts and other resources, which will help it expand.

She said some large international companies hesitated to get involved in LP Amina because they were wary of the technology; but she very quickly understood the massive potential.

 “Coal is still widely used in China and around the world,” she said, and HAO Capital will continue to support LP Amina in its work.

Ellen Carberry, co-founder and managing director of The China Greentech Initiative – a company focusing on accelerating the commercial success of enterprises in the clean technology sector – said LP Amina has exceptional potential.

She added that she considers it lucky, too, in that most venture capital and private equity companies prefer opportunities with companies that can earn them money quickly, normally within five to seven years.

Latta pointed out that according to the International Energy Agency, one-third of the world\’s electricity is still be derived from coal, and that its use is expected to continue rising for the next 20 years.

With over 50,000 coal-fired power stations worldwide, the demand for engineering expertise in emission reduction and operational optimization looks likely to remain extremely high for many years to come – and not just in China.

HAO Capital Formed Joint Venture “TCL Healthcare” with TCL Group

China focused private equity firm HAO Capital announced the formation of a joint venture “TCL Healthcare” with TCL Group. HAO Capital made the investment via its healthcare investment platform company SKR.

TCL Healthcare, with the combined resources from HAO Capital, SKR and TCL Group, is positioned to become a leader in China’s diagnostic imaging market, providing a full suite of high quality products and services including X-ray, Ultrasound, DSA, CT and MRI, etc.

China has already become world’s 4th largest medical equipment market with greater than RMB 60bn of sales, among which, more than 1/3 is diagnostic imaging equipment. The market is expected to maintain a 20% growth rate over the next few years, driven by urbanization, aging population, more social healthcare coverage and increasing awareness in healthcare. Multinational companies accounted for more than 75% of the diagnostic imaging market and the percentage is even higher in the high-end segment. Currently, no Chinese medical equipment company has a full product line in diagnostic imaging equipment. Meanwhile, Chinese government is supporting the development of a few Chinese companies that can become capable alternatives to foreign imported diagnostic imaging equipment ones.

TCL Group is a leading Chinese consumer electronics company in China. TCL Group is leveraging its brand, manufacturing and technology platforms, marketing capabilities and management resources to build a leading Chinese medical equipment company. TCL’s strategy is similar to GE, Philips, Siemens and Toshiba, the top four medical equipment companies globally, each of which expanded from consumer electronics into medical equipment and technology as one of their core strategic business units over the past decades.

“We are optimistic about the investment opportunities in China’s medical equipment market, especially imaging diagnostics equipment where there’s a clear and high growth market for quality, locally developed and manufactured equipment,” said Elaine Wong, Partner and co-founder of HAO Capital, “with the alliance of HAO Capital, SKR, TCL and our respective management, expertise, and resources, we are confident that the company will become the industry leader in China.”

HAO Capital made the investment via its healthcare investment platform company SKR, which HAO Capital invested in 2009. SKR is established by Chih Chen, a 30 year veteran of the healthcare industry and ex-President of GE healthcare China. By combining HAO Capital’s strengths in project selection, execution, strategy and capital planning and SKR team’s domain expertise, operating and management experiences, HAO Capital acquires or invests in medical technology and service companies in China to help to improve products, performance and profitability, meeting the need for quality and affordable healthcare.

About HAO Capital

HAO Capital is a China focused Private Equity firm based in Beijing and Hong Kong, providing growth capital to Chinese companies. Founded in 2005 by three seasoned investment professionals, the firm currently manages total assets of USD500mn across two funds, with a bias for investments in Consumer, Healthcare and Light Industrial, including Clean/Greentech.


About TCL Healthcare

TCL Healthcare, formerly known as “TCL Medical Systems”, was established in 2009 October, specializing in R & D, production and sales of medical imaging equipment. TCL Healthcare was selected in 2010 as core enterprise member of Beijing City pharmaceutical industry leaping development project (also called “G20” project), and undertakes a number of key scientific research projects of the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission and the State Ministry of science and technology. TCL Healthcare’s business spreads across mainland China and Southeast Asia. Mr. Chih Chen, former President of GE Healthcare China and current President of SKR, serves as Chairman of TCL Healthcare, and Mr. Hu Hai, General Manager of the former “TCL Medical System” as CEO.


About TCL Group

Founded in 1981, TCL is one of the largest consumer electronics enterprises in China with a global presence. TCL Corporation has three listed companies: TCL Corporation (SZ.000100), TCL Multimedia (HK.1070) and TCL Communication (HK.2618). Currently, TCL Corporation has set up four business units – TCL Multimedia Holdings, TCL Communication Holdings, China Star Optoelectronics Technology and TCL Home Appliances Group, as well as six business groups – System Technology Unit, Techne Group, Emerging Business Group, Investment Group, Highly Information Industry and Real Estate Group. In 2011, the brand value of TCL had exceeded RMB 50.118 billion, continuing to hold the No. 1 TV brand position in China today.


LP Amina: Emphasis on Collaboration

China’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the forefront of the country’s efforts to move away from a so-called copycat economy and toward exporting its own innovations, and there’s no shortage of foreign interest.

US-based energy efficiency technology firm LP Amina revealed at a conference on SMEs held last week that it will collaborate with a Chinese partner later this year to help a thermal power plant in the US cut costs and emissions, so that it can be viable for another 20 years.

Global Times

View the full story here.

Ju Tai Long: The Leading Home Furnishing Business

In a conversation with China’s leading business newspaper, the founder of Ju Tai Long, China’s leading integrated home furnishing company, shared his view of the company’s differentiated value proposition, robust business model and compelling competitive advantage.

“We analyzed the original operation model and piloted in a few new stores”, said Elaine Wong, Co-founder and Partner of HAO Capital, “ then we advised Ju Tai Long to open directly owned stores to improve efficiency, brand control and profitability”. Ju Tai Long is a representative investment of HAO Capital in the consumer goods and service sector in China.

21st Century Business Herald

Read the full text of the article in Chinese here.

The PAX of China – PAX’ing to the WORLD

PARIS, France – 15-17 Nov 2011, PAX Technology Limited, the leading provider of secure POS payment solution provider (HKEx: 0327) in Asia  – was proud to host a number of industry forums and showcase its smart technologies and payment solutions at the CARTES 2011 trade show in Paris, France.

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