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Spain

Spain

Spanish leader heads for America

Gamesa Eólica will have wind turbine production facilities in the United States "within three to four years," according to Gamesa corporation boss Iñaki Gandasegui. "Our production costs are the most competitive in the industry," he recently told Spain's financial daily, Expansión. "Within four years Gamesa could become world leader."

Gandasegui's bullish statements follow the break-up of the Gamesa technology partnership with Vestas of Denmark after Gamesa bought Vestas' 40% share in Gamesa Eólica in November, opening up a range of new overseas markets to the Spanish company. With just two years left in which to use Vestas technology, Gandasegui pins much hope on the company developing its own turbine designs, drawing on its experience in aeronautics.

Although the Gamesa group recently merged its aeronautics division with two other companies it will maintain close links with the new aerospace venture via its 59% share. "Vestas does not have carbon fibre nor other new materials and composites. This technological capacity and our cost structures are the basis for our becoming world leader," he says. Gamesa and Vestas are currently working in different markets, adds Gandasegui, but he believes the competitive clash will eventually come.

Meanwhile, Gamesa has a new technology transfer deal to make and supply a 1.5 MW turbine from Germany's REpower. But what appeared to be an imminent order for the machine from developer Corporación Eólica is in serious danger after the projects involved failed to gain permits (page 35). The financial markets, nonetheless, are supportive of Gamesa's strategy. At one point last month Gamesa became the most profitable Spanish flotation of the last two years, with its share value increasing by 61.9% since its flotation in October 2000.

Some analysts remain cautious, however. Bankinter, a bank, recommends existing investors to hold on to their shares, but advises prospective buyers to wait. Gamesa "is yet to demonstrate that it will achieve improved cost efficiency and that it will be able to expand abroad as it has announced," warn Bankinter analysts.

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