Vestas Loses Wind Turbine Market Lead to GE After 12 Years

Vestas Wind Systems A/S lost its leadership of the global wind turbine market to General Electric Co. in 2012 after 12 years with the biggest share, Navigant Consulting Inc.’s BTM Consult unit said.

Siemens AG rose to third from ninth, Enercon GmbH gained to fourth from fifth and Suzlon Energy Ltd. rose to fifth from sixth, BTM said today in an e-mailed statement, citing preliminary data. The final ranking is due late next month, it said. It didn’t provide percentage shares.

The ranking is a blow to Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas, which first took the top spot in 2000, when it supplanted NEG Micon A/S, a Danish rival that it later bought. Vestas last week posted its second consecutive annual net loss and said it’s in the middle of two “extremely difficult years,” during which it’s cutting about 30 percent of its workforce.

“It’s been part of their identity at Vestas that they’re the biggest in the world,” said Jacob Pedersen, an analyst at Sydbank A/S in Aabenraa, Denmark. “From a Vestas point of view I would fear Siemens a lot more than GE. Siemens is more global in their reach. GE is extremely dependent on the U.S. market.”

A spokesman for Vestas declined to comment. Vestas shares were down 2.7 percent at 39.1 kroner at 3:20 p.m. in Copenhagen trading. The stock is down almost a third in the past year.

Turbine Installations

The U.S. installed a record 13,124 megawatts of wind power in 2012, according to figures released Jan. 30 by the American Wind Energy Association, an industry lobby group. Pedersen said it may decline this year to as low as 3 gigawatts. London-based analyst Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts a U.S. market of

2.5 gigawatts to 3 gigawatts in 2013.

The U.S. market last year was boosted as project developers rushed plans to completion to take advantage of a tax credit that was scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, and which Congress didn’t renew until Jan. 1.

“In the grand scheme of thing this isn’t as devastating for Vestas as may have at first been thought,” Aris Karcanias, senior wind analyst in London at BTM, said in a telephone interview. “The U.S. market has been the dominating factor here and GE has been the dominant supplier there.”

Karcanias said GE probably made between two-thirds and three-quarters of its sales in the U.S. last year. Even so, “GE are also making strong inroads in the Latin American markets and have very openly stated that they want to be one of the biggest suppliers in the German market,” he said.

Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA, Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Guodian United Power Technology Co., Sinovel Wind Group Co. and Guangdong Mingyang Wind Power Industry Group Co. rounded out the top ten, though Karcanias declined to say in what order, because the data is preliminary.