Denmark

Denmark

NEG Micon looking for profits and a new direction

NEG Micon's board of directors has hired a new managing director, Trodden Bjerre-Madsen. Whether he can rescue the company from problems that caused losses of DKK 35 million in the first half of 1999 remains to be seen. Bjerre-Madsen has three main tasks: to turn around the company's losses, to solve technical problems with gear boxes and bearings on large NEG Micon turbines, and to establish better lines of communication and co-operation between NEG Micon's many divisions.

It took NEG Micon's board of directors just ten days to find a new managing director to replace Jens-Erik Christensen, fired after the company presented poor half year results just over a month ago (Windpower Monthly, September 1999). Whether Trodden Bjerre-Madsen can be just as fast in rescuing NEG Micon from problems that caused losses of DKK 35 million in the first half of 1999 remains to be seen.

Bjerre-Madsen, chosen from three candidates, has first hand experience of turning around the fortunes of a poorly performing company. He led Danish industrial scales factory Crisplant away from similar losses in just three years to bring the company's profits up to DKK 230 million. Bjerre-Madsen quit Crisplant recently following disagreements with the new British owner. He confesses he does not know much about the wind turbine market and until January 1 will assist Erling Lindahl, acting managing director. From 2000 Bjerre-Madsen assumes his new position. Lindahl is vice president of NEG Micon's board and stepped in to fill the breach made by Kristensen's departure.

Three goals

NEG Micon has three main tasks for Bjerre-Madsen. The first is to turn around the company's losses and ensure that NEG Micon's rocketing turnover is also reflected on the bottom line. Under Kristensen, NEG Micon grew aggressively, buying eight component suppliers and competitors within two years. The growth was uncontrolled, the company now admits, and some of these acquisitions were worthless or loss-making companies.

The second task is to solve technical problems with gear boxes and bearings on large NEG Micon turbines, flaws the company has found are "larger than first assumed" by the previous management (Windpower Monthly, May 1999). These problems must be dealt with before they turn into an economically unmanageable series failure or become an indelible stain on the company's reputation, costing turnover in the long run.

Bjerre-Madsen must also work to establish better lines of communication and co-operation between NEG Micon's many divisions. Parts and components for NEG Micon turbines have taken too long to move from one division to another-costing time and money.

NEG Micon had expected to end 1999 with profits of about DKK 75-100 million before tax, despite the negative half year report. The Danish Jyske Bank has adjusted its expectations downward for NEG Micon shares, however, and says the company will have a hard time reaching its profit goal for the year. Last month, NEG Micon shares were trading at DKK 275 for a DKK 10 share; the Jyske Bank says the real value lies around DKK 265.

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