Asian clean-technology companies’ sales overtook those of European peers last year on surging Chinese renewable-energy investments, Ernst & Young said.
Asian companies’ revenue rose 20 percent to $56 billion as sales by Europeans fell 32 percent to $49.5 billion, said the consultant in an e-mailed statement today. North American companies’ sales gained 29 percent to $30 billion. The industry was unprofitable last year with combined global losses of $6.6 billion, after profit of $5.1 billion in 2010, E&Y said.
“Mainly Chinese companies have committed to a clear target to become leaders in the clean-tech market,” said Robert Seiter, head of E&Y’s German clean-tech team. “They’re pursuing an aggressive growth strategy that’s radically focused on sales growth -- even if that comes at the expense of profit margins.”
The International Energy Agency expects plants such as wind farms, solar parks and hydroelectric dams to rival coal as the main generators of electricity by 2035. That’s even as solar and wind equipment makers from Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S to China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. struggle with falling margins and industry overcapacity. Chinese solar and wind companies have expanded to help meet a target to get 20 percent of the nation’s energy from renewables by 2014 even as global demand slows.
E&Y analyzed about 400 listed companies that generate more than half of their sales from clean technologies, it said.