United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Moventas - expanding in the US and delaying in UK

UK: Moventas has said that its proposed expansion in the UK, including the construction of a factory, will be put on hold until the offshore market in the country recovers, but said is looking to expand in the US.

Moventas has ended its downsizing in Finland
Moventas has ended its downsizing in Finland

In 2013, the company's owner Clyde Blowers indicated that Moventas would establish manufacturing facilities in the UK following its acquisition of the wind gearbox business of British engineering firm David Brown.

However Moventas Senior vice president for wind gears Arto Lahtela told Windpower Monthly: "The offshore wind market in the UK has been at least delayed and the forecast has been reduced over the next few years so we do have plans in place but we have to wait until the market comes alive until we can go ahead with any investment decision."

The firm is developing the gearbox for the Samsung Heavy Industries 7MW turbine currently being tested at a nearshore site in Scotland and it was suggested that Moventas would manufacture the component in the UK. But speculation about SHI's offshore wind intentions have added further uncertainty.

"There have been a lot of rumours about what the Samsung group will do, so that has of course put a question mark over what will happen with that [turbine]. But our gearbox is now going through the field testing at the test site, so things are progressing from our end," said Lahtela.

But while the company is looking to reel things in in the UK, it is planning to grow in the US.

Lahtela said: "We're looking to expand further in North America later this year and early next year. We already have locations in Oregon, Texas and Ontario and we are now looking for other locations in the US.

"We have new gearbox assembly facilities in place in Oregon, but we are looking to expand in servicing."

He added that the downsizing of operations in Finland has now come to an end, with the facilities "running at a steady pace". This is despite a report in August from Make Consulting that showed the global wind gearbox market was 90% over capacity.

But Lahtela said Moventas is able to deal with this. "The biggest oversupply is in China and we are not in the Chinese market at all. There is also overcapacity in Europe, but for us, our capacity is more aligned towards the products that the market will need today. We don't have much capacity for smaller units for example."

The company is also looking to compensate for the lower demand for new installations by expanding its servicing business.

"Service is a big part of our business and has been for a few years now. We've been investing in it over the last four or five years, setting up a presence in all of the main wind countries. And we will absolutely we will be continuing that heavily," said Lahtela.

Moventas announced this week that it has created an Italian subsidiary to deal with what it describes as growing demand for gearbox servicing in southern and eastern Europe.

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