Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), which is cutting 10 percent of its workforce, snapped two days of declines in Copenhagen trading after winning its first order in China for a turbine that operates at low wind speeds.
Vestas rose as much as 4 percent, making it today’s biggest gainer in the Copenhagen 20 Index, and advanced 3.5 percent to 64.10 kroner at 10:41 a.m. local time. Before today, the Aarhus, Denmark-based company had lost 67 percent of its market value over 12 months.
Vestas, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, said Jan. 12 it will remove 2,335 positions and may cut another 1,600 jobs in the U.S. as competition from Chinese producers hurts profits. China was the world’s biggest wind turbine market in 2011, installing 20 gigawatts out of a global total of 43 gigawatts, according to preliminary figures from Bloomberg New Energy. The U.S., which is the second-biggest market after China, installed 6.5 gigawatts last year.
“It’s very important for Vestas to gain a foothold and sell its more advanced turbines on the Chinese market,” Jacob Pedersen, an analyst at Aabenraa, Denmark-based Sydbank A/S, said today by phone. “The Chinese government is currently setting stricter requirements for the quality of turbines and that may help Vestas and other western producers to sell a bit more.”
Low Wind Speeds
Vestas said today it will deliver 27 turbines of its V100- 1.8 megawatt model to Datang Hubei Renewable Energy for a project in the Hubei province, where the average wind speed is five meters a second.
“Low-wind sites in China is a new market of huge potential,” Jens Tommerup, who heads Vestas’ China unit, said in the statement. “The contract is of great significance to us; it not only helps us open up a new market, but also firms our steps towards the exploitation of the dominant wind regime in China.”
The Chinese government has promoted investment in clean energy generation to diversify away from coal, which fuels 70 percent of the economy and contributes to pollution that blankets industrial areas from Hong Kong to Beijing.
Vestas delivered turbines with a combined capacity of 857 megawatts to China in 2010, equivalent to 15 percent of its global sales, according to the company’s website. For the first nine months of 2011, that ratio dropped to 9.3 percent.
“China never became as strong a market for Vestas as people had hoped,” said Sydbank’s Pedersen, who has an “over- weight” recommendation on Vestas shares. “Right now, we are seeing an overall slowing down of the Chinese market, and that’s hurting local competitors more.”
Sinovel Wind Group Co. (601558), Vestas’ biggest Chinese competitor, said today it expects 2011 earnings to fall by more than 50 percent as heightened competition delayed projects and depressed prices.
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