India

India

Analysis - the surprise rebrand of the company formerly known as Enercon India Limited

INDIA: Controversial turbine manufacturer Enercon India surprised the industry earlier this year, when it revealed it had decided to drop the Enercon name and rebrand itself Wind World India (WWI).

Wind World India... despite rebranding on 1 January the company does not have a complete website
Wind World India... despite rebranding on 1 January the company does not have a complete website

The company has been involved in a legal dispute since German manufacturer and partner Enercon cancelled a licensing agreement between the two companies in 2007.

This dispute has included the use of the Enercon name and the German company's efforts to enforce a change. Speaking about the changes, World Wind India managing director Yogesh Mehra said that the domain name was acquired on 20 November 2012 and the change took place as of 1 January 2013. "The company structure and share ownership structure does not change and remains the same as before" Mehra said.

He added: "The name change was done as 100% shareholders of (erstwhile Enercon (India) Ltd), wanted it to be done." However, Enercon, still the 56% majority stakeholder in the joint venture company, said it was not consulted about the name change. Enercon's lawyers were first informed on 7 January 2013, according to an Enercon company source.

Yet, the company's website resembles more of a holding page. Despite the name change happening this year, it still (as of 22 February) promises a new site is set to roll out. Likewise there is no information available on the company's product range.

At some stage, the name change looked inevitable, but why it finally happened in an apparent rush — judging by the fledgling website — is not clear. The Delhi High Court had directed EIL's 44% minority owner, the Mehra Group, to change the company as long ago as September 2011 and, in 2012, Enercon lodged a complaint about the slow implementation of this court order before the relevant Registrar of Companies, Mumbai, and the Registrar of Companies, Goa, Daman & Diu.

As of now, no decision has been handed down in these cases. In parallel, proceedings are under way against EIL/WWI use of Enercon trademarks. A final ruling in the long-pending trademark infringement suit is also still pending.

Meanwhile, disputes over the intellectual property licence agreement with EIL/WWI that Enercon terminated in 2007 continue. To date, EIL has challenged 46 of 124 patents granted to Enercon in India. 13 patents were declared invalid in 2010. Enercon's appeals against these decisions are still pending.

It's not clear when the disputes will be brought to an end, nor when Enercon will finally extricate itself from the India business. The relationship between Enercon and the Mehra group became increasingly problematic from 2005, some 11 years after EIL was founded. The disagreements over strategy, investment and management style reached a climax in 2007 when Enercon's representatives were effectively excluded from the EIL board.

Collaboration between Enercon and the Mehras stopped, and the legal disputes between the two parties have been grinding on ever since. Enercon has been keen to distance itself from a business over which it had lost control.

Mehra said that 2011, Wind World (India) Ltd (erstwhile Enercon (India) Ltd) had installed 666MW in 2011, and 592MW in 2012 in India. He declined to comment on what names are now given to the turbine products nor on whether it is the intention of the Mehra Group to buy out the Enercon stake, pointing out that these matters "are subjudice."

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