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The world's two largest wind turbine makers -- Vestas and NEG Micon -- were both busy on the Copenhagen stock exchange last month. Vestas made its bourse debut and NEG Micon announced its intention to increase share capital by up to DKK 20 million a year.

The Vestas flotation involved half of the 82.9% of stock held in Vestas Wind Systems Holding BV by a group of major European investors, primarily Dutch. The share issuance is expected to return a healthy profit for the investors as well as adding DKK 200 million to Vestas' own capital. The money will be used for a new blade manufacturing plant and an expansion of the existing wind turbine assembly facility, says the company. The first share issue -- limited to under DKK 2 million for small investors -- was snapped up on the first day of trading. The major share issue was still under way in late April.

The owners of the remaining 17.1% of Vestas, Danish institutional investors, LD Pension, which holds 11.4% of stock, and insurance company Danica, which owns 5.7%, are retaining their stock. Vestas expects a profit equal to 9% of turnover within the next two to three years. Turnover was DKK 1953 million in 1997.

Meantime, NEG Micon won approval for a capital expansion at its annual general meeting (AGM) on April 17, after gaining authorisation to acquire shareholder funds with a nominal value of up to 10% of the share capital. The new shares may be issued in one go, or in several separate blocks, until April 1, 2003. The AGM also approved a share dividend of 15%. NEG Micon is aiming for a before tax result in 1997 of around DKK 100 million.

The two giants of the wind turbine world are now vying with each other for pole position. According to BTM Consult's "World Market Update," they are running neck and neck, with NEG Micon just out in front if sales of Vestas turbines in Spain, where machines are made locally on licence, are excluded from the competition.

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