Deminor steps up campaign against Vestas

DENMARK: Deminor Recovery Services, a company targeting Vestas on behalf of disgruntled investors, has stepped up its campaign prior to a crucial vote at the manufacturer's AGM next month.

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At the heart of Deminor's grievance against Vestas is the decision to change its accounting procedures in 2010. Deminor believe this has affected share price performance, which has fallen from DKK 360 (EUR 48) in 2010 to the current price of DKK 40.

Deminor wants shareholders to vote on the appointment of a scrutiniser to examine the Vestas board's recent business decisions. Under Danish law any shareholder is allowed to submit a scrutiny proposal at a company's AGM. It has to be accepted by a majority. In January, Deminor purchased one Vestas share in order to facilitate this.

It has now detailed the allegations in a report titled "Future value creation requires full transparency", which includes accounting issues and profit warnings, changes to the auditors and issues in India surrounding former chief financial officer Henrik Norremark.

Additionally, Deminor said it has questions over Vestas' order book and how it compares with intake orders, shipping and other variables. Deminor said the figures suggest orders described as firm and unconditional have been cancelled.

The report states: "The difference between deliveries (MW) and MW produced and shipped in the year 2010 is noteworthy. It suggests that approximately a net 1,800MW were transferred from previous accounting periods into 2010 following the change of accounting rules. This more or less equates to our 1.8 billion of revenues, of which we stated above that these revenues were added to the 2010 figures from previous accounting rules.

"This underscores our previous conclusion that 2010 sales would have been substantially below the EUR 6 billion guidance released on August 18, 2010 (under the old accounting rules) if the revenue recognition policy had not been modified."

Commenting on Deminor's report, Vestas described it as speculation and referred to its previous statement when Deminor tabled the vote.

(Updated - 20 February) In a statement, Vestas said: "Deminor’s demands for scrutiny will be discussed at our upcoming Annual General Meeting on 21 March. 

"In the opinion of the Board, additional investigations will be unnecessary and only obstruct the work of the Board and impose needless costs on the company.

Separately, Vestas announced that it was transferring around 400 Danish staff from its Copenhagen and Randers offices to its headquarters at Aarhus.

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