Rapid expansion of Spanish group

Spanish wind giant Gamesa is doing better than it thought it would in 2003. The company says it is on track to finish the year with a net profit of EUR 200 million -- EUR 17 million more than its forecast and 47% up on 2002. Gamesa expects its 2003 turnover to reach EUR 1410 million. The immediate stock market reaction to the news last month was a 3.24% rise in Gamesa's share value.

Gamesa's optimism on reaching the final stretch of 2003 was spurred by net profits of EUR 175 million over the first nine months of 2003, compared with EUR 49 million over the same period last year. Turnover reached EUR 1080 million, 82% up on 2002.

Much of the extra income has come from the sale of wind plant by Gamesa's wind project development division, Gamesa Energía, which accounts for around 45% of business. Gamesa boss Iñaki López Gandásegui expects the sales to continue.

The first major deal was the sale of 982 MW of wind plant to utility Iberdrola last year for EUR 1100 million. Around 350 MW of that deal has still to be handed over. During 2003, Gamesa clinched further wind plant sales, including a 400 MW deal with Belgium's Electrabel for projects in Portugal and Italy and a 62 MW deal with Japan's Marubeni.

Gandasegui says Gamesa has 15,000 MW of wind projects in development at home and abroad, all of which it aims to sell. Gamesa Energía recently bought German wind developer EBV Management Holding and last year bought 75% of American Navitas. The company also formed a joint venture with TME Australia Pty to develop an initial 450 MW in Australia. Other markets on which Gamesa is busy positioning itself are the UK, France and Poland as well as Latin America.

The group's wind plant construction and operations and maintenance division, Gamesa Servicios, accounts for around 9% of business. Meanwhile, aeronautics division, Gamesa Aeronautica, formerly the corporation's core business and now delivering just 12.5% of group turnover, is managing to turn a profit despite the world aviation crisis.