Germany

Germany

British and American investors -- Nordex goes global

American and British institutional investors have been among those most interested in buying up shares in Nordex following the wind turbine manufacturer's flotation on the Frankfurt stock exchange in April.

Of the 70% of the company now being publicly traded, a quarter is in US hands, a quarter in British hands, another quarter is owned by German investors and the remainder by investors in other European countries, says company chairman Dietmar Kestner. Nordex held a series of public information meetings in Germany last month.

The company went public when the previous majority owner, German Babcock-Borsig, sold 70% of its share capital, reducing its stake from 80% to 25%. At the same time, Nordvest -- owned by Nordex's founders, Danish brothers Jens and Carsten Pedersen -- reduced its stake from 19.5% to 5.77% . In all, 36 million shares were sold, half of these created for a capital increase.

"The actual result was fantastic," says Hans Fechner of Babcock-Borsig, adding that the stock exchange valuation of Nordex reached DEM 1 billion. He says the company had never really believed in the bullish share prices of Euro 17-18 that were initially proposed and was satisfied at their trading at half that level (Windpower Monthly, May 2001). From the flotation, Nordex received EUR 160 million. "It needs the money to acquire other companies and to develop," says Fechner.

In the first six months of Nordex's new fiscal year, which began in October and led up to the flotation, sales increased 26% to about EUR 130 million, compared with the same period the previous fiscal year. For the first time exports accounted for half of all sales in the period, Nordex reports. Incoming orders rose by 60% to EUR 226 million, thanks in part to orders from China, the US and Spain.

Earnings before interest and taxes in the first six months were down 1.9% to EUR 5.1 million. The company blames the downturn partly on start-up losses in connection with its new blade production facility, moving its headquarters, and the costs of preparation for the flotation. The company is investing EUR 30 million in blade production and development of a 5 MW offshore turbine in co-operation with Repower Systems (Windpower Monthly, June 2001). Nordex expects to raise turnover in the current business year to EUR 350 million, compared with EUR 273 million in the business year 1999/2000.

Our gears are fine

At the German Hanover Trade Fair in April, Kestner ruled out the possibility of a major gear box problem in Nordex machines as seen in the turbines of NEG Micon. The company's both use Flender gear boxes. "We certainly do not expect a series problem with damaged gear boxes in Nordex machines," declared Kestner. NEG Micon and Flender have had to invest in a EUR 54 million gear box retrofit program (Windpower Monthly, July 2000).

"We used the same gear box type as NEG Micon, about 200 altogether, but in a 600 kW machine, while NEG Micon had the component in a 750 kW machine. We had the odd problem but we were one of the first companies to retrofit the gear boxes with fine filters in our 600 kW machines."

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