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Good news for manufacturers

WORLDWIDE: The quarterly results for the leading turbine manufacturers were largely positive, with Vestas, Nordex and Gamesa among those posting strong results.

Strong order book…Nordex's EMEA sales reached EUR 1 billion for the first nine months of 2014
Strong order book…Nordex's EMEA sales reached EUR 1 billion for the first nine months of 2014

The one exception was Siemens, which was hit with a EUR 223 million bill for turbine breakages. The German manufacturer said it incurred the charges for inspecting and replacing main bearings in onshore turbines, as well as repairing blades on both onshore and offshore turbines. The faults forced the wind division into a loss for both the fourth quarter and 2014 as a whole.

"The charge is related to inspecting and replacing bearings due to the early degradation in certain turbine models," said Lisa Davis, board director of Siemens Energy. "We believe this is related to recent batches of bearings and we are in discussions with the supplier." The blade degradation was due to harsh weather conditions both onshore and offshore, according to Davis. Siemens has implemented a design change for leading edge protection for new blades and will be implementing a "similar retrofit" for existing blades, she added.

Vestas, one company that has had its share of turbine failures, posted buoyant results and was able to upgrade its full-year guidance after a strong quarter, with income up 26% on a year ago.

The Danish firm posted revenues of EUR 1.8 billion, helping it to bank a pre-tax profit of EUR 163 million, an increase on EUR96 million over the same period in 2013.

This led to Vestas raising its expectations for full-year revenues to EUR6.4-7 billion, from EUR 6 billion previously. It also upgraded its margin guidance to 7-8% from 6% previously. The upgrades are based on the expected delivery plan for the rest of the year and an improved cost base, the company said.

"Fixed capacity costs have come down - they are the same level as the previous Q3, even though activity level has increased significantly and we have more employees," said senior vice president for marketing and communications Morten Albaek.

In China, Goldwind made a net profit of CNY 1.2 billion ($196 million) in the first three quarters of 2014, up five times on the figure for the same period last year. The bulk of this came from sales as developers attempted to beat a possible cut in the onshore tariff.

Gamesa doubled its net profit to EUR 64 million in the first nine months of the year due to an increase in revenue and margin. The Spanish firm banked revenue of EUR 1.9 billion, 17% up on the same period in 2013, on the back of a 31% bump in sales to 1.8GW. A two percentage point improvement to the company's margin at constant exchange rates to 7.3% also boosted profits. Order intake doubled to 870MW in the third quarter of the year. Currently, the 2014 figure stands at 2.2GW, a 78% increase on 2013.

Germany's Nordex was another company to highlight a strong order book. It has announced a 20.5% increase in sales for the first nine months of 2014, partly driven by a strong performance in the Americas.

Overall, Nordex said it had reached sales of EUR 1.2 billion over the period. The biggest share came from the EUR1 billion sold in EMEA, a rise of nearly 9%. In terms of profit, Nordex said consolidated earnings have risen from EUR 31 million to EUR 59 million, while third quarter EBIT was at 5.1%. Globally, newly installed capacity had also risen by 15% to 1.07GW.

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