Hedge fund veteran Dion Friedland is backing an emerging US company, International Fuel Technology, that has developed economising fuel blends.
As cleaner, less costly fuel becomes an increasing demand throughout the world (see Comment, this edition), IFT has caught Friedland's attention.
Friedland, founder and past president of the Hedge Fund Association and chairman of Magnum Funds, says he is excited about the prospects for International Fuel Technology (IFT), whose technology enables fuel to burn more cleanly and efficiently.
Not only has Friedland, an investor since late 2003, bought a substantial holding of shares in the company, he is also in the process of establishing a distribution network for the IFT fuel saving additives in most countries in Africa including Egypt. He is also looking to appoint suitable sub-distributors in certain European countries and in parts of the Indian sub-continent.
"IFT's technology is proven to provide significant benefits to petroleum-based fuels," says Friedland. "The data from independent testing at Southwest Research Institute (US) and Prodrive (UK) and the numerous field trials is very compelling. IFT additives have consistently achieved at least a 7% improvement in fuel economy. This can help companies greatly reduce their fuel costs and comply with environmental regulations. Countries benefit by lowering their oil import bills and in meeting Kyoto Protocol CO2 emissions standards."
IFT has developed a family of fuel additive formulations for use with diesel, gasoline, kerosene and fuel blends incorporating ethanol, bio-diesel and urea/water. The company has filed a number of patent applications pertaining to its proprietary technology as part of its efforts to commercialize its products. . IFT seeks to commercialize its fuel additive formulations on a global basis through the use of strategic partnerships with a variety of targeted companies, including fuel refiners, distributors of fuel additives, original equipment manufacturers (OEMS), and other companies.
On May 16, the company announced an exclusive marketing agreement with FT Marketing Ltd. (FTM) and an exclusive distribution agreement with Fuel Technologies Ltd. (FTL). FTL, which has made an initial purchase order of 34 tons of DiesolIFT(tm), will distribute IFT's products in South Africa and other African countries, including Egypt.
"Southern Africa alone accounts for almost one third of oil imports to Africa," says Friedland. "As most countries in Africa have a trade deficit exacerbated by recent increases in oil prices and since oil accounts for the largest import item for many African countries, FTL sees fast acceptance of IFT's additives as a way to reduce the trade deficit."
FTL is a privately owned company assembled to effectuate the commercialization of IFT's products. It is among IFT's other distributors in Asia (First Asia Fuel Corporation), the US (Soliton), South and Central America and selected African countries (Trafigura/Puma), the Middle East (Petrochem) and selected European countries (Expertises Technologies et Services and European Consultants) in assisting IFT in reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions worldwide.
Friedland, chairman of both FTM and FTL, has built several business enterprises. He founded Dion Stores, which became the largest discount store retailer in South Africa before he sold the company in 1985. He also founded Mandev Training, which became the largest retail sales training company in the World in the early 1980s. In 1994 he founded Magnum Funds, well known in the hedge fund industry, and until recently was president of the Hedge Fund Association, which he founded in 1996. His hotel, Cap Juluca, is rated the best hotel in the Caribbean by both Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure.
Joining Friedland at FTL as president is Charles Stride, a chartered accountant who was an external advisor to the South African Reserve Bank on Exchange Controls and served as the Special Advisor to the South African Minister of Finance from 1995 to 1997. From 1991 to 1994, Stride was Deputy Chairman of Allied Electronics Corporation Limited, the largest electronics group in South Africa. He was senior partner of Fisher Hoffman Stride, one of South Africa's two largest independent auditing firms, from 1979 to 1991, and served on the main board of Spicer and Oppenheim.
Stride was the deputy chairman of Societe Generale South Africa Limited from 1981 until 1997 when the South African company was absorbed by the parent. He continues to serve as an advisor to major corporations and government owned entities in both Swaziland and South Africa.