1969: The Tunisian Adventure – and the first project abroad

The international journal CIGRE issued an article about Johan Hannemann’s new design on round-steel bars and how they were successfully used in the design of masts. This came to the attention of Mr. Zidi Beji, the Director of a Tunisian state-owned steel millElfouladh.

One day, Johan Hannemann received a letter from Director Zidi, in which he wrote that he had read the article and liked Mr. Hannemann’s innovative design. Johan Hannemann held on to the letter, as Børge Rambøll, by coincidence, was planning to spend his vacation in Tunisia that same year. So, Børge Rambøll conducted the first direct negotiations with Director Zidi while on holiday in Tunisia, and a contract was signed in 1969.

Rambøll & Hannemann was to export its know-how on round bars and assist in finding new application areas as well as streamlining the production at Elfouladh.

The company decided to open an office in Carthage, Tunisia, based on the principle that it is good to be close to your clients. Another objective was to investigate whether the project could lead to more contracts in the region.

And it did. Just after a year, the office was able to report that they had 20 employees and that the client base had expanded and now included, among others, Tunisia’s national electricity company. Later this was followed by contracts for several more steel halls, a road bridge, and a large batch of lighting masts. The adventure abroad and close collaboration between Rambøll & Hannemann and Tunisia continued for more than 20 years.

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