Business: Company results

First quarter figures indicate a recovery in wind industry. Buyers appear to be returning to the market in many regions, as several leading firms report increases in order sales and profits, writes Nick Loney. First quarter figures from leading wind turbine manufacturers strongly indicate that the industry is in the early stages of a recovery. Several leading firms reported a surge in sales and profits, providing the clearest signal yet that buyers are returning to the market in numbers after a very challenging couple of years.

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India's Suzlon posted a quarterly net profit of INR 4.31 billion ($95.5 million) - a significant turnaround from the loss of INR 1.88 billion ($41.6 million) it reported for the same period last year. It was the company's first quarterly profit since 2009 and came on the back of a 20% surge in year-on-year revenues to INR 73.7 billion ($162.6 million). For the full financial year to March 31, Suzlon posted a loss of INR 10.9 billion ($241.6 million), having made a loss of INR 9.9 billion ($219.5 million) the previous year.

Tulsi Tanti, the company's chairman and managing director, attributed Suzlon's impressive performance to its strategy of focusing on emerging and key developed markets, which, he said, is "paying dividends with a robust order book and strong pipeline".

Figures from Suzlon's competitors proved that the Indian company's leap in sales was not a one-company phenomenon but part of an industry-wide trend. Spain's Gamesa posted quarterly revenues of EUR585 million, up 24% on the first quarter of 2010. Its net profit for the quarter was EUR13 million, a 67% year-on-year rise.

For the first time in its history, 100% of Gamesa's quarterly MW sales came from outside Spain as the company concentrated its efforts on boosting sales in India, Brazil and China amid falling demand in Europe. In February, CEO Jorge Calvet suggested that Gamesa may make no sales in Spain at all this year - a market that accounted for a third of revenue in 2009.

Italy's Enel posted quarterly revenues of EUR611 million, a rise of 26.5% on the first three months of last year. Its Q1 net profit was EUR135 million, a gain of 12.5%. Echoing Suzlon's and Gamesa's strategy of concentrating sales efforts in emerging markets, CEO Francesco Starace said that Enel will preserve its geographical diversity by focusing on markets with abundant natural renewable resources, regulatory framework stability and high economic growth.

Nordex's quarterly revenues were EUR183 million, up 22% year-on-year. However, unlike Suzlon, Gamesa and Enel, the German firm was not able to translate encouraging sales figures into bottom-line profitability: it posted a Q1 net loss of EUR1.8 million, compared to a flat performance for Q1 2010. Thomas Richterich, the company's CEO, said that the company's goal remains to stabilise earnings and create the potential for medium-term improvement.

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