The company becomes the largest supplier of wind turbines in the world and aims to retain its 35% share of the global wind market. Sigaard has previously said, with reference to Vestas' dominance in Italy, that a high market share is "difficult to defend" (Windpower Monthly, 2003). But at a regional meeting of wind interest groups, coincidentally held on February 23, Sigaard said that Vestas' increased technical and economic strength would make it a winner at serving customers.
The fusion formally takes place March 4 after two postponements for competition authority approval. By February 23, 92% of shareholders in NEG Micon had given their acceptance of an offer to exchange their shares with those of Vestas. A condition of the merger, first announced in December, was the requirement that 66% of NEG Micon shareholders accepted the offer.
For participants at the regional meeting, Sigaard had dismal news. While the merger will result in a future "sharp rise" in employment, that rise will take place outside Denmark's borders. In Denmark, the number of jobs provided by Vestas will continue to fall -- as it has done since the government indicated two years ago that it would not continue to facilitate continued wind power development. Today the country gets 20% of its electricity from wind plant, a percentage achieved faster than national energy policy goals.
"That political declaration means we have to dig deep in our pockets for an explanation each time a potential overseas customer asks why we can't sell wind turbines in Denmark," said Sigaard. "With that policy for renewable energy, I don't believe we'll be allowed to maintain employment levels."
Sigaard expects, however, that a series of core functions will be kept in Denmark. Without mentioning Spanish Gamesa, which has an office mid-way between the Vestas and NEG Micon factories, he referred to overseas competitors with a presence in Denmark, where employees with considerable professional experience in the wind industry can be found.