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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vestas shows crummy quarter

The first quarter was a bad one for Vestas, the European windmill manufacturer that's got its American headquarters in Portland, at least for the moment:

Vestas, the world's biggest wind turbine maker, plunged to a larger than expected first-quarter loss due to delayed deliveries and rising costs, the latest blow to the renewable energy sector and piling pressure on its embattled boss.

Shares in the Danish firm dropped as much as 13 percent on Wednesday as analysts warned the group was heading towards the lower end of its financial forecast ranges for the full year. ...

Vestas's first-quarter loss before interest and tax widened to 245 million euros ($324 million) from 69 million a year earlier. That fell below all estimates in a Reuters poll of analysts ranging from a loss of 125 million euros to a profit of 45 million.

Revenues rose to 1.11 billion euros from 1.06 billion a year earlier, also undershooting all forecasts in the poll, As well as sluggish deliveries, the results were hit by the high cost of new technology, and provisions for gearbox problems affecting the V90 3.0 MW turbine.

We see they have their logo on the walls at the spiffy new Pearl District headquarters building that Oregon taxpayers are helping them refurbish (the old Meier & Frank warehouse). But we continue to wonder if they'll ever actually move in there:

Vestas still expects its number of employees at year-end to be around 20,400, which will contribute to a fixed cost reduction of more than 150 million euros. During the third quarter, Vestas will make a decision on its future footprint in the U.S. market in the event the production tax credit is not extended.

Rumor has it that its Chinese competitors are considering buying out Vestas, and one seriously doubts that they're going to pay top dollar to have a management complex in Portland. Even though they could... all together now...

Go by streetcar!

Comments (12)


part of the article:

Kassia Yanosek, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Stanford center and a private-equity investor, writes in Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, that attempting to accelerate a transition to a low-carbon economy is expensive and risky. Policymakers, says Yanosek, need to realize that achieving a transition with government-aided commercialization programs will require putting billions of taxpayer dollars at risk, often in a high-profile way.

“If government officials wish to accelerate the next energy transition, they will need a different strategy to develop an industry that can survive without major subsidies, one that prioritizes funding to commercialize decarbonized energy technologies that can compete dollar-for-dollar against carbon-based energy,” Yanosek said.

Why would the Chinese competitors buy out Vestas when they can simply destroy them in the marketplace?

Reader, they could destroy it, but buying it out and subsequently owning any proprietary technology makes more sense. If they follow traditions here in the US, they'll buy out the company, swear that they're into Vestas for the long-term, get the employees to train their own, and THEN destroy it.

On Sunday night we met friends for dinner in the 'hood. We parked on the Flanders side of the M&F/Vestas building. Along the sidewalk was a man wiping down literally hundreds of plastic waste baskets, mostly black and a few blue ones. I opine that the blue ones are for the executive class...The side doors were unlocked and more men were transferring other furnishings inside.
I guess they are close to moving some bodies in there.

Gee, that's scary.

I sure hope they can pay off that 0% $10M that PDC lent them for free, especially since Gerding-Edlen already used it to enhance their building.

They've already committed to a lease, spent resources, and the project is wrapping up, why wouldn't they move in? Inexplicably backing out after all that sure wouldn't help investor confidence.

New research finds that wind farms actually warm up the surface of the land underneath them during the night, a phenomena that could put a damper on efforts to expand wind energy as a green energy solution.


You know, one would think that at some point it might occur to rational people that if they want to produce energy, there's going to be a price to pay. Coal power cleaned up the cities, which formerly had been chock-full of folks burning wood, charcoal, and other materials, creating an horrendous amount of pollution.

Today, folks rail against coal. They don't like burning natural gas, either. There's always nukes, but that presents issues. How about hydroelectric? Sorry, that isn't considered a "renewable energy source" under Oregon law, and besides, it's bad for fish.

Okay: wind! Wind turbines kill bats by the millions due to hypobaric conditions generated by the spinning blades - their lungs explode. And bats are incredibly beneficial; they eat nearly their body weight in insects (well, the insectivorous ones do), and the fruit bats are essential for pollination and seed dispersal. Turbines decapitate thousands of raptors, such as golden eagles. And now they've been implicated in "climate change".

Okay: solar! Solar arrays are produced using hazmat - think Solyndra, which has walked away from barrels of toxic waste and production equipment contaminated with lead. The arrays destroy habitat for plants and animals wherever they're sited.

Now there's a push toward fuel-cell technology that uses hydrogen to produce energy. And the only by-product? Harmless water vapor! Oh, wait - water vapor is the primary "greenhouse gas", and is far more effective than than the CO2 boogyman.

You want energy? What do you want to pay?

Just speculating here, but if Vestas is sold, its U.S. subsidiary could potentially declare bankruptcy and walk away from a lot of debt.

Besides, the many documents around this backroom deal have never been shown to the public. Who knows what they actually say.

Rest assured that Mark Edlen will make money on this turkey, no matter what.

"They've already committed to a lease, spent resources"

You can break a lease just by not paying and making yourself judgment-proof (I'll defer to Mr Bog) by becoming bankrupt.

Spent resources? PDC lent them $10M to renovate the building which they gave to the building's owner Gerding-Edlen for improvements.

I guess you could say they spent resources, just not their own.

After Vestas walks away, then Gerding can get more money for the remodel, and get it named after himself, just like the theater!
It's a sweet deal....

Rest assured, if Vestas splits, GE or possibly some faceless Chinese corporation will not be a suitor for the old M&F warehouse. However, it does make one pause to wonder what special kick backs Gov. Ted received when he was courting Vestas in '06 and '07?
ANSWER: Mouth fulls of sausage...Dutch and German...big and small.

Vestas is the business world equivalent of a remittance man that the family hopes will go away.

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