Falling orders in Mediterranean force LM Spanish factory closure

SPAIN: LM Windpower has confirmed it is closing its Mediterranean flagship factory in Ponferrada, Spain.

The 469-strong staff will immediately be slashed to 84 people, charged simply with handling blades in stock. LM Windpower’s Spanish manufacturing is now limited to its Castellón factory in Valencia.

When LM opened the Ponferrada factory in 2001 it became the company’s biggest European blade facility in order to capture Spain’s booming wind market.

The decision to close follows a two-year dramatic slowdown of that market due to the central government’s capping of new capacity since 2009.

The Spanish industry claims it has lost over 10,000 jobs since 2009. It also claims profit axing, set in a recent draft wind-power regulation affecting new capacity after 2012, poses an even bleaker future.

"But there has been a decrease in the entire Mediterranean market together with increased competitiveness globally requiring restructuring of our business worldwide," LM Windpower’s communications chief, Lene Mi Ran Kristiansen told Windpower Monthly.

She points out 50 jobs have recently been axed in Denmark "and further rationalisation will come, though it’s premature to say how and where".

The closure comes as LM revealed it was looking to open a new factory in South Africa.

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