Vestas confirms 2017 guidance after solid Q1

Vestas turbine. Author: germanborrillo. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

May 5 (Renewables Now) - Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S (CPH:VWS) today maintained its 2017 outlook after reporting year-on-year increases in revenue, earnings and free cash flow for the first quarter of the year.  

Net profit more than quadrupled to EUR 160 million (USD 175m) from EUR 35 million in the first quarter of 2016 on the back of a 29% gain in revenue as the company was busier making and delivering turbines. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) jumped 148% to EUR 211 million and the EBIT margin grew to 11.2% from 5.8% a year earlier.

Vestas reported free cash flow of EUR 8 million for the quarter, compared to negative EUR 296 million in the prior-year period.

"I am very pleased with the underlying improvements in revenue, EBIT and cash flow, although these include positive spillover effects from PTC [production tax credit] component deliveries," said chief executive Anders Runevad. "We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and maintain our guidance for 2017," the CEO added.

Key financial figures are in the table below:

(in EUR million) Q1 2017 Q1 2016
Revenue 1,885 1,464
Gross profit 377 247
Operating profit (EBIT) 211 85
Profit before tax 214 46
Profit for the period 160 35

The company said its wind turbine order intake in the quarter was solid at 2,049 MW. That marked a year-on-year decline of 15%, but it noted that the first quarter of 2016 Included a 1-GW order in Norway. Vestas ended the period with a turbine order backlog of 9,962 MW, in line with the level of 9,929 MW a year ago. In terms of value the turbine order backlog showed a 5% rise to EUR 9 billion. The service backlog, meanwhile, expanded by 17% compared to March 31, 2016 to EUR 11 billion. Vesats' combined backlog was thus worth EUR 20 billion at the end of March, 2017, an increase of EUR 2 billion compared to a year earlier.  

Below are details about the company's Q1 order intake and turbine backlog at end-March per region:

in MW EMEA Americas Asia Pacific Total
Order intake  802 921 326 2,049
Backlog 5,066 3,543 1,353 9,962

The confirmed 2017 outlook projects revenue in the range of EUR 9.25 billion to EUR 10.25 billion, EBIT margin before special items of 12%-14%, total investments of about EUR 350 million and free cash flow of at least EUR 700 million.

(EUR 1 = USD 1.094)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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