The formation of a new global chiller engineering and manufacturing group in Montreal has been announced. Gaetan Morin, executive vice-president of investments of the FTQ Solidarity Fund of Montreal, and Roger Richmond-Smith, chairman of the new Smardt Chiller Group, disclosed an FTQ minority investment of $15 million in the new entity, which merges the Australian PowerPax chiller business with its North American Smardt sister company and expands distribution offshore.

"We have installed more than 1,200 chillers in 15 countries so far, with more on the way," Richmond-Smith said. "Our core strength lies in our oil-free centrifugal technology, which gives us a clear energy and ecological advantage over traditional lubricated chillers. Our magnetic bearings and integral variable-speed drives also increase reliability over lubricated machines and, with no oil system to maintain, maintenance costs drop away rapidly."

"Even though the Smardt Group's total sales this year have yet to reach USD 100 million, making us a distant number five behind the big four centrifugal chiller brands, we have attracted a strong groundswell of support from building owners, managers, and consultants, which augurs well for the near future. Much of this growing appetite for the Smardt oil-free technology is from new markets—where a patient financial partner like FTQ gives us added momentum," he said.