Enron buys Dutch blade firm

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Struggling Dutch rotor blade manufacturer Aerpac, which last month filed for protection against creditors, looks certain to be taken over by American power giant Enron. According to the bankruptcy receiver called in by Aerpac, Rijssen-based legal firm Daniels, Enron and Aerpac reached an "agreement in principle" late last month and expected to sign contracts "sometime in the next three days."

Enron, which has one of its two wind turbine manufacturing subsidiaries in Germany, is expected to take over virtually the entire production side of Aerpac, ensuring that most of the 230 production related jobs will be saved. Blade production will continue at the current Almelo site, but an internal re-organisation of the company looks inevitable, with some staffing cuts a probable consequence.

Since filing for protection against creditors, Aerpac directors sought to avoid selling the blade production tools, believing this to be the death blow for the company. In the end, however, they had to allow the owners of the equipment, investment company Lage Landen, to sell it to a rival German blade manufacturing company, NOI Rotortechnik, of Nordhausen, in the east German state of Thüringia. NOI, founded in February 1999, is developing large blades for use on offshore turbines (Windpower Monthly, February 2000). It made its debut at the Husum Wind Fair last year.

According to Daniels, the sale of the blade production tools will make no difference to Enron, which has its own blade tools. These are already en route to Almelo, says the receiver.

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