Vergnet concerned about company future

FRANCE: French turbine manufacturer Vergnet has warned the company could be put at risk if there are further delays in building projects in France's overseas territories.

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The company, which specialises in turbines for cyclone zones and where access is difficult, will supply three projects totalling 19.5MW selected following a tender for up to 95MW in Corsica and the overseas territories. It was hoping for more. In all, 45MW was on offer in the cyclone zones.

Vergnet says it has invested €20 million in research and development (excluding industrial investment) to design a turbine that can resist cyclones and systems for storing electricity and forecasting, as required in the tender.

Not only is the tender a year later than expected, but Vergnet fears there will be further delays due to legal difficulties. One law states construction in coastal areas is only allowed next to existing urban areas, while another says turbines must be at least 500m from residential zones. The government said it is looking into the problem.

Vergnet, which is likely to miss its sales target for 2011 and 2012, is already struggling. Last year, it secured a capital injection of €18 million from the government's strategic investment fund and independent developer Nass&Wind, but also had to cut costs. Further cuts look likely. The company will give details when it issues its annual results on 1 March.

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