Gamesa CEO Jorge Calvet Steps Down Shares Tumble 89%

Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA, Spain’s biggest maker of wind turbines, replaced Chief Executive Officer Jorge Calvet after the company’s market value plunged 89 percent during his 31-month tenure.

Gamesa named as his replacement Ignacio Martin, a former CEO of the Spanish supplier of automobile components Cie Automotive SA, according to a statement yesterday. Calvet is leaving the company. Gamesa rose 2.9 percent to 1.639 euros at the close in Madrid today.

The wind company’s profit has declined since Calvet was promoted to CEO in October 2009 as a glut of manufacturing capacity worldwide cut turbine prices and margins. In March, Gamesa reported its first quarterly loss in at least a decade. Its shares have fallen about 75 percent in the past year.

“Whenever you have companies that aren’t doing well, you look for a scapegoat,” Amy Grace, a wind analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you see other firings as well because of the problems in the industry.”

The average price of wind turbines fell 3 percent in the second half of 2011 from the previous six months to 910,000 euros ($1.14 million) a megawatt as Chinese manufacturers undercut European rivals like Gamesa and Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the biggest turbine maker. Prices are down 25 percent from a mid-2009 high of 1.21 million euros a megawatt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vestas Comparison

Vestas’s Acting Chief Financial Officer Henrik Norremark resigned in February before Vestas posted a loss in 2011 four times wider than analysts predicted. He had remained in the post after being promoted to Deputy Chief Executive Officer a month earlier. Its CEO Ditlev Engel fired 2,335 workers worldwide in January and said he won’t resign.

Gamesa reported a loss of 21 million euros in the first quarter, compared with net income of 13 million euros a year earlier. Its profit margin fell to negative 2.7 percent, compared with 1.7 percent in 2011 and 3.6 percent in 2009.

“I am taking over at a company that successfully managed a buoyant economic period,” Martin said in the statement. “Now that the expansion stage is behind us, it is time to focus and place more emphasis on competitiveness and profitability.”

The Bloomberg Wind Energy Index of 64 companies declined 0.8 percent yesterday to 427.77. It has dropped 28 percent in the last year.

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