Gamesa's Calvet sacked amid nacelle plant closure

SPAIN: Former Gamesa CEO Jorge Calvet, just days before his departure, announced the closure of one of the manufacturer's three Spanish nacelle facilities, continuing his threat to halve domestic turbine production capacity to 1GW by 2013 unless Spain's wind power support model is renewed.

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The Medina del Campo facility was mounting hubs for Gamesa's 2MW machine, as well as 1.6MW turbines. A two-year rescue attempt failed and now Gamesa plans to relocate 50% of the 70 workers laid off, mainly to its Ágreda nacelle facility.

In January, the government clamped an indefinite moratorium on subsidies for all wind capacity installed after the end of 2012. Gamesa has already cut domestic capacity by over 800MW, or 40%, since 2010.

Nevertheless, local and global staff numbers have actually risen, from 4,629 in 2010 to 4,853 in 2011, mainly due to an increased focus on operations and maintenance and research and development jobs, a company spokewoman said.

This contrasts with competitor Vestas' January decision to slash 2,300-3,900 jobs globally. Gamesa's head count globally has risen from 7,262 to 8,357 in the same period.

However, Gamesa's tightening of existing rationalisation measures, following a €21-million net loss in the first quarter of 2012, threatens that trend. The company's previous closure, at its Alsasua blade factory in 2010, was made due to a discontinued 45-metre model.

Calvet's departure as CEO and chairman after less than three years in the role came two weeks after Gamesa's poor first quarter results and followed the enforced move of its offshore turbine research project to Spain from the US.

Calvet will be replaced as executive chairman by Ignacio Martín, who joins from CIE Automotive where he was executive vice president.

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