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Profit warning ahead of results

Two loss-making contracts involving turbine sales and turnkey construction have led US turbine manufacturer Clipper Windpower to issue a profit warning ahead of its interim results. In a trading update issued July 31 to the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, Clipper warns of a net loss due to initial production and procurement inefficiencies and "legacy sales pricing."

The company states that its interim results in September will show "non-recurring charges" of some $25 million, including "loss provisions" relating to turnkey construction and sale associated with two wind farms using the new 2.5 MW Liberty turbine. One is FPL Energy's 100 MW Endeavour project comprising 40 turbines in Iowa which, says Clipper, is entering late stages of completion. The other, is the eight turbine, 20 MW Steel Winds project commissioned in June this year (thought the trading statement refers to it as a 20 turbine project). Clipper adds that future turbine sales will not include turn-key construction.

The trading note reports that so far this year Clipper's Cedar Woods manufacturing and assembly facility in Iowa had produced 78 Liberty turbines, with series production standing at 86 including eight produced in 2006. These were installed at Steel Winds, near Buffalo, New York, the first commercial wind farm using Clipper wind turbines, which is co-owned by UPC Energy and BQ Energy.

Clipper stresses that Steel Winds continue to live up to expectations. It also states that it will meet firm order commitments for delivery of a total of 181 machines this year. Delivery of 311 turbines is slated for 2008 with further customer orders under negotiation for 2008/9, it says.

Meantime, Clipper has given the name Morning Light to plans for a 300 MW wind farm near Adair which would be Iowa's largest, reported the Des Moines Register last month. Morning Light was the name of an 18th century wind-powered tea transporting clipper. The company has secured more than 2000 acres under easement agreements that provide royalties to landowners. But Clipper is still seeking additional land, the report says.

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