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Argentina

Argentina

Restructured Impsa builds turbine factory

ARGENTINA: One week after signing a major restructuring deal to save the company, Argentinean engineering firm Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona (Impsa) has inaugurated a new wind turbine factory in the west of the country.

Impsa has upgraded its facility in west Argentina to produce turbines
Impsa has upgraded its facility in west Argentina to produce turbines

The company invested $20 million to refurbish part of its Mendoza production hub to house the factory, which has capacity to produce 150 turbines a year.

The move comes less than a year after the company defaulted on foreign debt because of unpaid bills from major energy projects in Brazil and Venezuela.

The group was forced to put up for sale two turbine plants in Brazil, and wind farms in Brazil and Uruguay.

Restructure

Under the deal mediated by the Argentinean government and announced to the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange on 20 July, the Inter-American Investment Corporation, the investment arm of the Washington DC-based Inter-American Development Bank, will become Impsa's largest single shareholder with a 15% stake.

Argentina's state-owned bank Banco Nacion, Brazil's largest private bank Bradesco, and Chilean investment firm Moneda Asset Management have also taken stakes.

Meanwhile, the Perscamona family, which founded the firm more than a century ago, has seen its total stake reduced from 65% to 35%.

Production

The new factory follows a government programme led by Impsa to develop a new generation of wind turbine based on the company's 100 years of experience in manufacturing and the particularities of wind in South America.

The result, the 103-metre diameter Unipower IWR100 turbine, is the only turbine to be wholly designed and manufactured in Argentina.

Work is already underway at the Mendoza site to produce 26 of the turbines for the fourth stage of the Arauco wind farm, Argentina's largest, which will produce an average of 176,600MWh of electricity annually.

Depending on demand, capacity at the plant could be ramped up to 300 turbines a year within six months.

With the new plant, Impsa is looking to take advantage of Argentina's new renewable energy programme RenovArm, which offers additional tax breaks depending how much of a project is manufactured locally.

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