Aug 24, 2012 - Bert Nordberg, board chairman at Denmark-based wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S (CPH:VWS), is looking for a strategic investor that would take a 10% to 20% holding in the company, according to Danish daily Berlingske Business.
However, Vestas is not for sale and CEO Ditlev Engel, who has drawn strong criticism recently, still has the full support of the board, Nordberg said in an interview for Berlingske Business, published today.
Vestas has been having difficulties recently due to an overall deterioration in the wind turbines market and its 180,000 shareholders have lost two-thirds of their investment over the past year. By securing a large investor the company expects to be able to execute its strategy to return to profitability but also to restore the confidence of its banks. It is not yet clear whether or not this strategic investor would be an existing shareholder. It could be an institutional investor or an industrial partner but a long-term interest in the wind turbine industry is an important condition, according to Nordberg.
Such a move is expected to reassure Vestas's bank consortium, headed by Nordea (STO:NDA-SEK), SEB (STO:SEB-A) and DNB (OSL:DNB), which plans to examine the company's economic situation in the fourth quarter. This would be an important test for the wind turbine maker but Nordberg is confident it would be successful.
Despite the fact that the board is looking for a large investor, Nordberg said that Vestas would remain a Danish company, listed on the Copenhagen bourse, thereby dismissing existing speculation of a potential sale. A sale is not a solution for the shareholders considering the weak share price at the moment, the chairman said.
Nordberg expects a massive consolidation in the wind power sector, which makes it necessary for Vestas to cooperate with other sector players. The company has to reduce costs and adjust capacity ahead of a difficult 2013 but this would happen not only through job cuts, as already done on several occasions over the past year, but also via long-term cooperation agreements, according to the chairman. For example, two or more wind turbine makers could share the same tower plant.
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