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United States

Analysis: Vestas looks to competitors for growth

UNITED STATES: GE is believed to be one of the companies fueling growth and new jobs within Vestas' North American component manufacturing division.

Vestas' Pueblo factory in Colorado
Vestas' Pueblo factory in Colorado

Vestas is employing "hundreds" of employees in North America, including those manufacturing towers in Colorado for two third parties, the company has confirmed.

Asked for comment, Vestas said the Danish company is contractually prevented from disclosing customer names. GE also declined to confirm or deny it.

"We're running full out, in terms of hiring," said Chris Brown, president of Vestas Americas. The US is undergoing a mini-boom, with wind developers rushing to lock in the expired production tax credit.

Vestas now has about 2,500 workers in North America, with 1,500 in its $1 billion Colorado manufacturing hub. That includes those on three-month contracts. In 2012, Vestas axed about 700 staff in America — part of broad global cuts — as sales slowed and the company struggled to make a profit.

A furore erupted recently when a US newspaper, citing unnamed current and former Vestas employees, said the firm might move its North American head office from Portland, in Oregon, to Colorado.

Vestas opened its Portland HQ in 2012 with an interest-free $8 million loan from the city's development commission and $2.25 million from Oregon state, including a $1 million loan from the strategic reserve fund, requiring Vestas to add 100 more jobs locally, said the Oregonian.

"No decisions have been made regarding the Vestas presence in Portland," Vestas responded.

"Vestas is continuously looking for opportunities to optimise our geographic footprint across the globe, and it's no different in the United States." A spokesman added that Vestas has met its loan obligations.

The Colorado-based Metro Denver Economic Development Corp would not comment. But according to the Denver Post, Brown – who was hired in 2012— has at some point met with the group.

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