Spanish bull in fighting form -- Charging at world leadership

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With turbine sales for 2003 up by 49% on the previous year, Spain's Gamesa is exuding more confidence than ever. It sold 1380 MW of wind plant last year -- 16% of the global total, points out company boss Iñaki Gandásegui -- making it the fourth most successful wind turbine manufacturer behind Vestas and NEG Micon of Denmark and Germany's Enercon. Its domestic market share, he adds, is around 60-70%.

Presenting the company's 2003 year end results, Gandasegui noted the company performed better than expected, largely thanks to its international expansion. Its three wind divisions (Gamesa Eólica, Gamesa Energía, and Gamesa Servicios) contributed nearly 90% of the company's profit after tax on a group turnover of EUR 1603 million. All but EUR 21 million of Gamesa's after tax profit of EUR 202 million came from its wind power activities.

The wind development division, Gamesa Energía, provided more than half of this, with post tax profit at EUR 119 million on a turnover of EUR 588 million, while turbine division Gamesa Eólica reported post-tax profits of EUR 82 million and a turnover of EUR 853 million. Overseas orders accounted for 19% of the division's sales. Gamesa is projecting exports to increase to 29% of sales for 2004.

Overall, the company exceeded its post-tax profit forecasts by EUR 15 million. Gamesa's share price increased 14% on the news.

For 2004, Gamesa expects group profits to increase a further 14% on 2003 to EUR 230 million on a projected turnover of EUR 1992 million. According to Gandásegui, Gamesa Eólica has 6803 MW of orders on its books -- "three or four times sales volume to date, offering visible assurances of continuity."

new orders

Gamesa reports 2004 orders for 1503 MW, with a further 5300 MW lined up for 2005-2007 in framework agreements with the six main Spanish developers. Nearly half of this (2550 MW) is for Gamesa Eólica's sister company Gamesa Energía for projects at home and abroad. The rest is with Corporación Eólica (625 MW), Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (568 MW), Urbaenergía (406 MW), and utilities Iberdrola (710 MW) and Endesa (441 MW).

New Gamesa turbine models are in sight and Gandásegui confirms continued commitment to research and development. Last year, it opened a branch office in Denmark, Gamesa Wind Engineering ApS, specifically to reap the benefits of Danish know-how for its new turbine models.

Gamesa's vertical integration has been a significant key to its success, adds Gandásegui. The company is now 100% self-sufficient in blade and plant control, software design, and manufacture. Moreover, around 40% of the generators, power electronics and gear boxes it uses are made in-house. Maintenance services are entirely in the hands of Gamesa Servicios. "All this means increasingly improved margins and competitive prices," he says.

Charging abroad

As a developer, the company built 410 MW in 2003 and has aspirations for far more. Gandásegui says there is 15,000 MW in the pipeline -- half of this in Spain and the rest mainly in Europe, the US and Brazil. Its sales unit also sold wind plant totalling a further 691 MW during 2003, the company says.

The group's ambition to become the world's leading turbine supplier rides on the back of its twin role as manufacturer and project developer. Gamesa Energía claims it is working on a portfolio of 8500 MW in 15 countries outside Spain. So far, ten 2 MW machines have been installed in Gamesa Energía's 20 MW Florines project in Sardinia, Italy, the group's first complete European development. Overseas projects like this, says Gandásegui, will increase awareness of Gamesa Eólica among other developers, hopefully leading to new orders.

red tape

Exports within Europe are central to its strategy, particularly to Italy and Portugal, while Gandásegui expects to take a slice of an annual market of 2000 MW in Germany. About 1000 MW is planned for Greece, though he admits these are stalled in red tape.

In the US, Gamesa has 50 MW installed and 100 MW going up this year, all in projects developed by Navitas, 75% of which is owned by Gamesa. A further 850 MW is planned for completion in the US by Gamesa development companies by 2008, although these will only proceed if the production tax credit incentive for wind is renewed. In Brazil, Gamesa has 800 MW waiting on the government's Proinfa renewables support policy.

Aside from supplying Gamesa Energía's overseas projects, Gamesa Eólica is also doing business with other developers, including a deal for 188 MW to utility ENEL in Italy and around 50 MW in orders from companies in China and France. Just recently the company secured its first African order -- for 80 MW from Egypt's New & Renewable Energy Authority. The UK, too, is expected to provide opportunities, though Gamesa does not expect significant sales there for "the next two or three years," says Gandásegui.

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