Analysis - FWT arises from Fuhrländer ashes

GERMANY: A new company named FWT Trade has arisen out of the ashes of insolvent small German turbine builder Fuhrländer.

Fuhrlander's FL2500 wind turbine
Fuhrlander's FL2500 wind turbine

FWT Trade's 40 strong workforce, formerly all with Fuhrländer, started business in February 2013, secure supplies of large components for companies producing Fuhrländer turbines under licence and provide turbine services and maintenance. Wind turbine manufacturing is also to be revived at Waigandshain, Rhineland-Palatinate, before the end of 2013.

After running into financial trouble Fuhrländer, one of Germany's oldest turbine manufacturers, saw 80% of its stock acquired by a company named Windgröße, owned by Ukrainian industrialist Maxim Efimov, in May 2012.

But after some restructuring efforts and last minute hopes of a takeover by Iranian investor group Mapna, Fuhrländer was finally wound up in February 2013. FWT Trade, a sister company to Efimov's Ukrainian wind energy company, also named FWT, then took over the former Fuhrländer's engineering, service and maintenance activities and staff.

For the moment, FWT Trade is concentrating on building business as a manufacturer and independent supplier of services and maintenance for wind farms across Europe, including rotor blade service, gearbox endoscopy, electronic inverter service, turbine tower inspection and condition monitoring.

It also provides engineering services, technical optimisation of turbines and procurement of large components and has the logistical know-how for their worldwide distribution, the company said at the Hanover industry trade fair in April. It also offers a more unusual service for wind company with a manufacturing background: marketing wind and solar-generated electricity in the wholesale electricity day-ahead and intraday markets.

By the end of 2013, the workforce at Waigandshain is to be expanded to up to 90 people and turbine manufacture will begin. About half of the 22 2MW turbines for a wind project in Kazakhstan won by FWT Trade and FWT will be supplied from Waigandshain by the end of 2014. Details on the project "will be made available in the coming weeks", said Walter Lütz, press spokesman for FWT Trade.

Prototypes of a 3MW turbine will also be built at Waigandshain and are due to be installed at various sites, not yet decided, before the end of 2013, he said. Investor in the revived production at Waigandshain is Ukrainian company FWT, he added.

The 2MW and 3MW technology is supplied by W2E, with which FWT Trade has clinched a new cooperation deal.

Until its demise, all Fuhrländer's turbine designs and innovation were supplied by W2E (Wind to Energy), a specialist engineering company based in the northern German port of Rostock. In 2011, Fuhrländer acquired 36% in W2E, and Fuhrländer subsidiary Boulder Licensing another 15%, but in the wake of Fuhrländer's insolvency, "changes in the ownership structure are under way," W2E said today.

The W2E agreement will ensure that FWT Trade has the research and development, as well as the operations and maintenance support, for all planned and unplanned service and maintenance activities for W2E technology. Initially this is for all 2.5MW FL2500 machines that have been installed.

The cooperation is to be extended to all turbines produced and installed by the former Fuhrländer, as well as to the prototypes and first machines in series production of the 3MW turbine type with 120 rotor blade diameter designed by W2E.

FWT Trade and W2E intend to extend their cooperation further to marketing, procurement and production, including the 2MW turbine type at Waigandshain for the international market. The former Fuhrländer FL2500, 2.5MW machines will also continue to be produced for projects in Germany, Belgium and Poland, the two companies said.

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