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New shareholder and rapid growth -- Fresh blood to Nordex

A subsidiary of SKion -- the holding company of well-heeled German entrepreneur Susanne Klatten -- has acquired 20% of German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex. The stake in the firm was bought from the CMP Group and Goldman Sachs and their co-investor banks, Hypovereinsbank, HSH Nordbank and Morgan Stanley. All will retain some shares in Nordex, with CMP's 25.6% share likely to fall to around 15% and Goldman Sachs' share set to drop from 16.7% to 10%. The shareholding of the three other banks will dip below 3%.

The remaining shares in Nordex are unaffected. Nordvest, a company owned by Nordex board member Carsten Pedersen, holds around 3.5%, with investment firm Black Rock owning 3.3%. Another 42.8% is in free float on the stock exchange. Klatten's husband, Jan Klatten, holds a 2% stake in Nordex and is a member of the firm's supervisory board.

Susanne Klatten is reported to be the richest woman in Germany. She is a member of the Quandt family, which holds a 46.6% stake in BMW and a majority share in chemicals company Altana "We have sold part of our investment to SKion as it is an industrial investor which can contribute valuable experience and strategic impetus in the interests of Nordex's future development," says CMP.

Nordex reports a 44% increase in sales for the first half of 2008, with sales of EUR 466 million, up from EUR 323 million for the same period in 2007. Wind turbine assembly increased by 48%, from 332 MW last year to 490 MW for the same period.

Half year earnings before tax rose 20% to EUR 17.7 million, while earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were up just 6% to EUR 16.2 million, compared to EUR 15.3 million last year. "As expected, profit did not rise as quickly as sales," says Nordex. "This was due to the high volume of capital spending on extensions to production capacity and new non-domestic companies."

Increases in manufacturing capacity include new rotor blade production facilities in Germany and China, while Nordex units in Italy, the UK, China and the US have been restructured. The company is confident that business will boom in the second half of the year, saying it is "on track to achieve sales of EUR 1.1 billion and EBIT of EUR 60-66 million in 2008." Its order book value is strong, rising by 94% to about EUR 3.3 billion from EUR 1.7 billion in the same period last year, it says.

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