Wind power took a financial blow this week when Vestas Wind Systems lost almost a quarter of its value in trading. The Denmark-based company posted a second-quarter loss of 119 million euros ($153 million), which was more than the analysts predicted. And as Bloomberg reports, the company has taken a serious blow to its credibility.
Vestas is currently the world’s largest producer of wind turbines, operating plants in Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Germany, India, Italy, Britain, the United States, Australia and China. Founded in 1945 by Peder Hansen to create household appliances, the company changed its focus to wind power construction in 1979. After a couple of brief slumps in 2003 and 2005, company officials announced a major expansion into the United States and debuted two new turbine models in 2009. They have installed more than 39,000 wind turbines in 63 countries and employ more than 20,000 people around the world.
Nonetheless, the company has taken its biggest one-day drop since November 2002. Teea Reijonen is a London-based analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. As she told Bloomberg, “Right now it’s just a shock, and Vestas has suffered a serious blow to its credibility. Analysts are going to take a very dim view of margins for 2011 given what’s happened this year.” Like most analysts, Reijonen has placed a hold rating on Vestas shares.
Vestas is blaming the slump on delayed orders from the United States, Spain and Germany. The credit-crunch caused by the current financial crisis has restricted banks from granted loans to companies eager to buy Vestas turbines. Sales from the second quarter fell 17 percent while the company lost 82 million euros in the first three months. This was its first quarterly loss in four years. Vestas is Denmark’s fifth biggest company.
As Vestas Chief Executive Officer Ditlev Engel told reporters, “We were maybe too optimistic on what we expected we could execute in the second half of 2010. The financial crisis had a delay effect on our industry, and we’re seeing it in 2010 rather than in 2009.” Other analysts are quick to point out that this is a consequence of a very poor 2009 and the start of 2010.
A stronger finish to 2010 could help the company turns its profits around. Vestas has signed eight large deals in the last month, two of which exceeded previous orders. Meanwhile, the rest of the world continues to hold its breath on the viability of wind power.
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