Stephan Kirsch’s appointment as global president of Metso’s mining equipment business area in July came at an exciting time for the company.
Barely three weeks earlier, Metso and Outotec had announced that they would combine to create a leading minerals processing company.
The proposed tie-up took some in the industry by surprise, while others saw it as a logical move that was overdue.
This increased the responsibility on Kirsch’s shoulders from day one in his new role, as the company and its customers came to terms with the prospect of Metso and Outotec joining forces.
Perth-based Kirsch started his new job with a strong understanding of the probable implications of the proposed combination.
He had joined Metso a year earlier and up until his new appointment in July had been the company’s global senior vice president, business and product management in the mining equipment business area.
“Having already been with Metso for a year provided me with a good understanding of how Metso’s mining business area operated. This gave me a head start, so my analysis period was quite short,” Kirsch told Australian Mining at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC).
Kirsch said his initial focus was squarely on Metso’s mining clients, reassuring them that until the transaction was completed, it would be ‘business as usual’ with the company continuing to focus on the needs and satisfaction of its customers.
His resolve hasn’t changed in the four months since, as Metso and Outotec gradually move through a complex approvals process towards formalising the merger in the second quarter of next year.
“My focus is on customer centricity – that is the key,” Kirsch said.
“Why customer centricity? At the end of the day, we are in business to provide services, supply equipment and bring innovations to our customers that make a big difference to the performance of their business.”
It is anticipated the proposed merger will leverage the combined strengths of both companies that include technology, research and development, product and processing excellence, as well as extensive aftermarket service capabilities.
Metso Outotec will also aim to take advantage of its presence in a large number of geographical markets and knowledge across a range of mineral applications, particularly copper and high-growth minerals used in battery technology.
Kirsch expects the tie-up will also be complementary given the two companies’ contrasting expertise, which they will integrate into a minerals processing powerhouse.
Metso is widely recognised at the dry minerals processing end of the market in crushing, screening and milling equipment as well as pyro technology and tailings management systems.
Outotec, on the other hand, has established a strong reputation as specialists in wet processing disciplines, such as hydrometallurgy, flotation, filtration and downstream metal processing.
Kirsch believes that mining companies and EPCMs (engineering, procurement and construction management providers) will benefit from the merger having a broader range of expertise in both areas of processing at their disposal from the one supplier.
According to Kirsch, Metso’s unrivalled services footprint and strengths as an aftersales service provider will deliver new benefits to owners of Outotec equipment once the merger is approved.
“Over the years, Metso has developed a broad service footprint with a network of strategically located service centres close to our customers. Our teams provide specialist workshop and field services that bring together our extensive know-how with Life Cycle Services (LCS), including original OEM spare parts and consumables,” Kirsch said.
“This capability will be extended to all of our customers, and when I say ‘our’ I mean Metso Outotec customers in the future.”
“Going forward, this is one of the synergies we see and where we can actually provide our reliable, well established services.”
And it would seem this is just the beginning of the synergies that will emerge and be realised when Metso and Outotec combine.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity because both companies are very knowledgeable, so experienced, and well known in the market for quality products and services. We complement one another extremely well,” Kirsch concluded.