Success leads to stock exchange -- Gamesa flotation

The corporate group behind Spain's biggest wind turbine manufacturer, Gamesa, has placed 27% of its capital, or 21.9 million shares, on the Spanish stock exchange. The Gamesa Group turned over ESP 97 billion (EUR 583 million) in 1999 -- nearly a threefold increase from 1995's ESP 26 billion. Much of this is thanks to the success of its dynamic wind turbine company, Gamesa Eólica, which makes Spanish versions of Vestas wind turbines from Denmark.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S owns 40% of Gamesa Eólica, and 51% is owned by Gamesa Energía. Earlier this year, Spanish utility Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra ordered 1800 Gamesa turbines -- the largest single order for wind turbines ever made -- upping Gamesa Eólica's turnover 60% and sending Vestas shares rocketing (Windpower Monthly, February 2000). "We believe we are now in a position to extend our shareholder base," says Jose Antonio Garrido, Gamesa's president, adding that the stock market "will value the group's current performance."

Prior to going public, Gamesa restructured. IBV -- a joint venture between Spain's second largest utility, Iberdrola, and financial institution Banco Bilboa Vizcaya Argentaria -- now holds about 72% of the shares, down from 91%. Remaining shares are held by Nefinsa (22.5%) and Tornusa (6.5%).

Due to the reshuffle, the group has been divided into five dependent areas of activity, all directly controlled by Gamesa. Thus Gamesa Energía, which previously controlled the group's energy activities, has been absorbed by the main shareholders.