Gamesa Hires Martin as CEO as Calvet Steps Down

Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA, the Spanish maker of wind turbines that’s lost 75 percent of its market value in the past year, named Ignacio Martin as chief executive officer.

He replaces Jorge Calvet, who is leaving the Zamudio, Spain-based company, according to a statement today.

Gamesa’s shares have tumbled 89 percent since Calvet was named CEO in October 2009, as competition from Chinese rivals drove down turbine prices and margins.

“Clearly, 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 4 percent in the second half of 2011 from the previous six months as Chinese manufacturers undercut European rivals like Gamesa and Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the biggest turbine maker.

Vestas replaced two chief financial officers in the past year as well as its chairman and deputy chairman. Its CEO Ditlev Engel said he won’t resign.

Martin, formerly of CIE Automotive SA, also will be a member of Gamesa’s executive committee.

“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.”

Gamesa reported a loss of 21 million euros ($26.4 million) in the first quarter. Its profit margin was 1.7 percent in 2011, down from 3.6 percent in 2009. The Bloomberg Wind Energy Index of 64 companies fell 28 percent in the last year.

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