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The Windicator

Stock price performance

Wind turbine manufacturing stocks performed spectacularly well during the second quarter, far outperforming the wider market indices in both Europe and India (charts above and right). The combined share value of the Windpower Monthly Equity Index of listed turbine manufacturers in Europe increased by 70% over the three months to June 12. This is three times the increase of the Financial Times Stock Exchange Eurofirst 300 Index, which rose by 23%. In India, Suzlon's shares shot up 237%, far outstripping the Bombay Stock Exchange SENSEX 30 index, which rose by 70% over the quarter. An overall recovery in the equity markets matched with a rebounding oil price encouraged investors to flock back to wind stocks, while positive comments from some companies about the impact of government stimulus measures also helped boost sentiment towards the sector.

Strong recovery

The larger companies, Denmark's Vestas in particular, are performing better than their smaller rivals. But it is perhaps India's Suzlon, the worst performing turbine manufacturer in terms of its share price during the first quarter of the year (Windpower Monthly, April 2009), which has most to be pleased about. It rallied strongly during the second quarter as investors gained confidence in the company's ability to deal with financial liquidity problems and its quality control issues on rotor blade production. Suzlon finally completed its acquisition of Martifer's stake in Repower during the quarter, increasing its stake to 90.72%.

Much to the relief of shareholders, this was achieved without having to dilute the value of existing stock by issuing new shares. The market also reacted well to a 43 MW repeat order for Suzlon turbines from US firm Duke Energy, interpreting it as a sign that last year's quality control issues will not hold back sales growth in America.

In Europe, Vestas' share price began recovering from early April, when the company announced a large order from Italy, and surged strongly on its announcement of solid quarterly results later that month. Crucially, the Danish company maintained its full year forecast for a 20% increase in sales and profits, saying strong demand from China and the US is compensating for weakness in Northern Europe. "A lot of markets are picking up," said the company's Ditlev Engel. "Governments around the world are really giving a very high incentive to get the renewable energy sector going." The company's share price jumped 81% over the quarter.

Clipper's share price performance was even stronger, increasing by 118%. Improving sentiment towards the sector generally, rather than company specific events, appears to have driven the American manufacturer's strong performance. The company announced full year results in mid May, reporting a larger than expected deficit (Windpower Monthly, June 2009), but it also said progress in the year to date is in line with expectations.

Tougher for others

For Spain's Gamesa it was a tough quarter. Its share price was highly volatile over the three months, but it finished the quarter up 57%. Its first quarter results announced in mid May held few surprises. Rumours that the company was going to trim its forecasts, however, led to the suspension of trading in its shares in late May, forcing the company to issue a formal statement reiterating its target for annual sales of 3300-3600 MW. Trading in Gamesa's shares again came to a brief halt on June 2, when the company's biggest shareholder, Spanish giant Iberdrola, announced it is selling a 10% stake in the company, reducing its holding to 14% (page 34).

Germany's Nordex saw a respectable 44% rise in its share price over the quarter, but underperformed all of its peers apart from Repower. The company's Thomas Richterich told analysts in May that the company is on track to meet its full year sales target of EUR1.2 billion. But its profit margin is expected to fall, the company says, largely due to the higher structural costs.

Although Repower was the worst performing wind turbine stock for the period, its 39% return still outperformed the wider market by some margin. As well as Suzlon increasing its stake in the company during the quarter, in May Repower announced full year sales of EUR1.2 billion, almost 10% higher than the EUR1.1 billion it forecast in November. The company is maintaining its EUR1.4-1.5 billion sales forecast for this financial year and expects its operating profit margin to rise from 6.3% in 2008/2009 to 7.5-8.5%. The market responded well to the announcement, with the company's shares rising as much as 35% during the two weeks after.

Falling from favour

As of June 15, 43% of the 126 broker recommendations on the six publicly listed wind turbine companies were to buy, according to data from Bloomberg (charts). This is unchanged from the previous quarter. The number of sell recommendations, however, has been increasing each quarter for more than a year, from less than 15% in March 2008 to more than 30% now. Nordex has fallen from favour, with just one analyst, or less than 10% of the total making recommendations on it, labelling it a buy option, down from about 25% last quarter. Repower has been a relative winner in the popularity stakes, increasing its proportion of buy recommendations to 60%, up from 40% in March, and reducing its number of sell recommendations from 20% to zero.

Development

With the market going through interesting times, taking its pulse mid-year is not necessarily an indication of likely health come Christmas.

That said, the indications are that global wind power capacity will reach about 150 GW by the end of the year - an annual addition of over 29 GW, slightly more than the 26.7 GW added in 2008. Current global wind capacity is over 25% higher than at this time last year, following the addition of about 7.8 GW in the first months of 2009 (table right).

Strong performers among the national markets so far this year include France, the UK, Japan and the United States. China has reportedly added some big projects, but confirmation that more than one major development is actually online is missing. The Windicator aims to include only operating wind plant in its national totals.

Policy

It took a world economic crisis for governments to wake up to the economic benefits of wind power. Government initiatives to stimulate economic growth have followed US President Barack Obama's lead in specifically including incentives to drive demand for turbines and provide direct industry support. Offshore wind in Europe has been a particular beneficiary of both EU and British stimulus packages. The US may even catch up with the rest of the developed world and legislate for a minimum proportion of renewables content in the nation's electricity supply. In Britain, an updated renewable energy strategy is expected this month with a potential target for wind power of 22% of electricity generation by 2020. Seven other European countries expect wind energy to be contributing more than 20% to electricity supplies by 2020.

Industry

The rapid rate of wind power growth has prompted concerns about the ability of the supply chain to keep pace. More than one supplier has called for a pause in new designs in order to perfect technology and expand production capacity. Their prayers have been partly answered by the market slowdown. The building of sizable new wind turbine assembly facilities in the US, China and India are helping free the bottleneck.

Economics

The easing of raw material prices is stabilising project costs for both onshore and offshore wind, with reports that the cost per megawatt of fully installed wind power on land is dropping back down to EUR1 million from EUR1.3 million. Higher fossil fuel prices are also making wind look more competitive. Innovation continues to bring the cost of wind power down, most recently in the trend towards use of lighter and more efficient permanent magnet generators.

Operating wind power capacity

START Current Total
2009

EUROPE MW MW

Germany 23 903 24 647
Spain 16 740 17 140
Italy 3736 3950
France 3387 3638
UK 3334 3625
Denmark 3180 3169
Portugal 2833 3134
Netherlands 2216 2214
Ireland 1053 1053
Greece 985 1029
Sweden 1021 1021
Austria 995 995
Turkey 383 453
Norway 436 436
Poland 405 530
Belgium 384 384
Bulgaria 158 176
Finland 143 144
Czech Republic 133 133
Hungary 127 127
Estonia 78 117
Ukraine 90 90
Lithuania 52 52
Luxembourg 35 35
Latvia 27 27
Croatia 17 27
Switzerland 14 14
Romania 10 12
Russia 11 11
Slovakia 3 3
Total 65 889 68 386

PACIFIC REGION
Japan 1540 1932
Australia 1306 1306
New Zealand 468 468
Philippines 33 33
Pacific Islands 24 24
Total 3371 3763

LATIN AMERICA
Brazil 336 414
Mexico 88 230
Costa Rica 92 92
Caribbean 57 57
Argentina 30 30
Colombia 20 20
Chile 20 20
Uruguay 18 18
Cuba 7 7
Ecuador 2 2
Peru 1 1
Falkland Islands 1 1
Total 672 892

CANADA
Canada 2369 2577
Total 2369 2577

USA mw mw
Texas 7314 8539
Iowa 2810 2883
California 2517 2653
Minnesota 1752 1803
Washington 1375 1503
Oregon 1067 1435
New York 832 1274
Colorado 1067 1067
Kansas 815 1014
Illinois 915 916
Oklahoma 708 831
Wyoming 676 775
North Dakota 714 714
Indiana 131 531
New Mexico 497 497
Wisconsin 395 449
Pennsylvania 361 463
West Virginia 330 330
Missouri 163 309
South Dakota 187 288
Montana 272 272
Nebraska 73 153
Idaho 75 147
Michigan 129 129
Maine 47 104
Hawaii 63 63
Tennessee 29 29
New Hampshire 25 25
Utah 20 20
New Jersey 8 8
Ohio 7 7
Vermont 6 6
Massachusetts 5 5
Alaska 2 2
Rhode Island 1 1
Total 25 388 29 245

ASIA
China 12 200 12 276
India 9645 10 242
South Korea 233 233
Taiwan 224 224
Sri Lanka 3 3
Bangladesh 1 1
Total 22 306 22 979

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
Egypt 365 365
Morocco 134 134
Iran 67 67
Tunisia 54 54
Reunion (France) 10 10
South Africa 9 9
Israel 6 6
Cape Verde 3 3
Jordan 2 2
Total 650 650

(c) Windpower Monthly News Magazine
CURRENT WORLD TOTAL: 128492 MW

THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR: OPTIMISTIC

Things are looking up, what with Barack Obama's stimulus package, UK and EU money for offshore wind, share prices of wind companies on the rise and other healthy signs. We're feeling better and our thermometer has moved up a notch.

About the windicator: The quarterly Windicator is an indicator of the state of play. Changes in country totals in the table can be corrections received rather than additions or subtractions. We welcome corrections. The column is compiled by Windpower Monthly contributors Stephen Barker (share prices), David Milborrow (development and economics) and in-house staff. US MW total based on AWEA data and German MW based on Betreiber-Datenbasis data.

(c) Windpower Monthly News Magazine

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