Stock exchange shining stars -- Umweltkontor and Energiekontor

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Two of the three wind and renewables development companies floated on the German stock market last year are doing well. Umweltkontor outshone all but one of the 133 flotations on the New Markets section of the Frankfurt bourse, while Energiekontor logged a respectable fifth position. For the third company, P&T Technology, the news is not so bright. Although ranked 39 out of the 133 flotations, it falls into the group below position 35 where share price movements are negative.

The hit list was published by trade paper Deutsche Börse and financial newspaper Handelsblatt. In a commentary, the business newspaper attributed the success of the two wind developers to the debate about high oil prices.

Umweltkontor, based in Erkelenz, went public on July 5, 2000 with its shares priced at EUR 11.5 each. By the end of the day they were trading at EUR 24, and by the end of the year at EUR 42.5, an increase of 270% on the flotation price and a 77% increase from close of business on the first day. Energiekontor's rise was not quite so meteoric. The company, based in Bremen-Brinkum, was floated on May 25 at an issue price of EUR 32 a share. This rose to EUR 36 on the first day of trading, and by late December to EUR 83, 13.42% higher than the first day listing and 159% higher than the issue price.

The most recent flotation of the three was by P&T Technology on November 28 with shares priced at EUR 19, a level not improved on by the end of the day. By late December the share price had fallen to EUR 17.50, nearly 8% down on its initial performance. Still, P&T reported in January that the Hamburgische Landesbank-Girozentral had nevertheless exercised its option to place an additional 300,000 shares bringing the total to 3.3 million shares.

Heady life on the stock exchange is not to be had without stress, as the downward slide in share value of many a brash new dotcom has demonstrated. Umweltkontor saw its share price inexplicably plunge by 18% in early December, prompting the company to publicly decry "false information" circulating in the business media.

Another of Germany's public wind developers, Plambeck Neue Energien, of Cuxhaven, also felt the effect of negative press reports on its share prices in September. It went public in December 1998, with an emission share price of EUR 25.4 In September, the stock exchange publication Prior-Börse concluded that Plambeck was heading downhill after analysing its half yearly report. Plambeck retorted that extraordinary investments in a series of growth areas, including offshore wind, photovoltaic, biomass and hydrogen, had been ignored and that negative forecasts made back in 1998 had been pulled out of the drawer.

Despite Plambeck's denials, considerable losses in the green electricity trading division of the company during the first half of 2000 told their own story. The division was sold off to shareholders of Plambeck Neuer Energien for DEM 10 million in early December (Windpower Monthly, November 2000). "This led to a corresponding improvement in Plambeck Neue Energie results for 2000," says Rainer Heinsohn of the company.

The ups and downs of Germany's public wind entities is undoubtedly of interest to those contemplating their bourse entry, including turbine makers DeWind and Nordex as well as wind development companies Wind7 of Eckenförde (page 38) and Unite(e) (Windpower Monthly, December 2000.)

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