Former Wärtsilä executives plan to serve Russian market for E-Nav products


Back to the Future: A Russian-Designed Transas Full-Mission Bridge Simulator (Transas)

Posted on July 17, 2022 at 11:09 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Finnish technology company Wärtsilä suspended all deliveries, sales, orders and tenders for Russian customers. It further reduced its operations in the Russian Federation in April, taking a $200 million write-down on the value of its business and giving up about 5% of its annual net sales. According to Russian media, the decision may have spurred the creation of a new Russian company to serve Wärtsilä’s Russian customers in the e-navigation space.

Wärtsilä acquired the civil division of electronics and software company Transas in 2018. Although Transas is a global company with headquarters in the UK, it was founded in St Petersburg in 1990 and had a large Russian workforce. At the time of purchase, the high-level acquisition seemed very attractive: it offered Wärtsilä a portfolio of simulation, traffic control, fleet operations and ECDIS technology, as well as related activities such as training and after-sales service.

But Russia’s withdrawal from the market has impacted Transas’ business line (known as Wärtsilä Voyage after the merger). Wärtsilä took a $75 million impairment on goodwill and intangible assets related to its travel unit in April, the largest component of the $200 million impairment.

Now, according to Russian outlet RBC, two former vice presidents of Transas and Wärtsilä Voyage are creating a new company that reflects the division’s Russian roots. The newly formed EMCT (Evolution of Marine Digital Technologies) will supply products to Russian customers left behind by Wärtsilä’s exit, and will also compete in “Russia-friendly” countries in the coming years.

In an interview with RBC, Development Director Vladimir Ponomarev (formerly VP of Solutions for Wärtsilä Voyage) noted that St. Petersburg had been the birthplace of many Voyage products. He predicted that with the creation of EMCT there would be a “smooth replacement” with similar products for the sanctioned Russian maritime market.

“Wärtsilä’s departure from Russia in March 2022 effectively deprived [Russian] users of qualified expert support and the ability to develop software and hardware solutions to meet changing requirements and standards. In most cases, this situation can be critical, at least on the horizon of 6-12 months,” Ponomarev said. “[EMCT is] ready to take on the tasks of expert and technical support for current Wärtsilä users, as well as to develop and bring to market national hardware and software solutions that can replace Wartsila products in a short time.

The creation of EMCT is part of a large wave of import substitution across the Russian economy. As Western companies have withdrawn or sold their Russian divisions, others have stepped in to fill the void, including fast-food chain “Vkusno i Tochka”, the heir to Russia’s McDonald’s chains.


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