India

India

Asian focus for blade supplier

Denmark's LM Glasfiber, the dominant supplier of rotor blades to the wind industry, is expecting to double its business in India this year, expand its manufacturing capability in the country and perhaps move research and development (R&D) operations there too, says managing director Anders D Christensen, who recently visited the country.

With demand for larger turbines and larger blades in India, LM is planning a $1.5 million extension to its factory in Bangalore to meet demand for blades for 350 MW of wind power a year, says Christensen. The company is also talking about conducting long term research in India in the area of new materials. "There is a possibility that we might shift our R&D operations to India," says Christensen. Around 20% of materials used by the company in India are already locally sourced -- Christensen says this will grow in 2004. "The problem is to find certified suppliers. This, we realise, can come only when there is volume," he adds.

India has created a "satisfactory" market framework for wind development," he says. "There is a new confidence in India in terms of its capability and contribution to the world markets in terms of manufacturing abilities."

Christensen describes LM Glasfiber's expected growth in India in terms of market share, which increased from 32% in 2002 to 45% in 2003. "We did a limited performance in 2003. In 2004, we plan to double our deliveries," he says. Christensen is confident India's new Electricity Act will enable LM Glasfiber to meet its targets. "In India, the basics are right," he says.

The main obstacle to development in the country at present is import duties on capital goods, Christensen believes. "Bringing in new technology can only help the industry," he argues. Insisting on indigenous manufacturing can come at a cost of quality, something LM Glasfiber is not prepared to accept.

With India as its base, LM hopes to export blades to wind developments across Asia. The company might also consider opening a factory in Australia, says Christensen. Another option is China, but this would be "a long shot." If it came off, however, there is potential for serving the Japanese market from China, Christensen says.

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