Bankruptcy and a quick takeover

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With insufficient capital to cover debts in excess of its average annual turnover, WindMaster Nederland BV declared bankruptcy last month. But within just three weeks, the only remaining manufacturer of grid scale wind turbines in the Netherlands, Lagerwey Wind Turbine BV, announced it was taking over all of its former rival's activities. Production of the WindMaster 600 kW will continue, but a decision on the rest of the range has yet to be taken, says Lagerwey's Johan Keurentjes.

News of WindMaster's demise came less than a year after giant Dutch conglomerate Begemann sold its controlling interest in the concern to WindMaster managers and a group of unnamed American backers (Windpower Monthly, February 1998). Despite hopes that this buy-out would provide more room to manoeuvre, debts of NLG 25 million finally forced the company to call in the receiver.

Specialising in the delivery of large scale turnkey projects -- such as the proposed 30 MW offshore project on the Gunfleet Sands in south east England -- the company was dogged by liquidity problems. At the time of its divestment Begemann cited a lack of short term returns as its primary reason for shedding the company. According to receiver Cees Okkerse, the problem of returns on investments being spread over a ten to 15 year period has proved insurmountable: "Prospects are excellent," says Okkerse, "but because of the long term nature of the developments and the extended returns periods, it is an area which requires somebody with deep pockets. The pockets of the current owner aren't deep enough."

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