Strong growth in sales and profits reported by Gamesa for the first three months of the year sparked a positive market reaction in Spain, with the share price rising to EUR 32.8 on May 21, the highest this year and close to an all time record of EUR 32.9 in December. International investment firm Black Rock Investment Management also upped its stake in Gamesa to 3.6%. Sales for the quarter, nearly all from wind turbines or completed wind farms, hit EUR 798 million, 31% up on the same period for 2007 and returning a net profit of EUR 34 million, 80% up. Profit before financial expenses was EUR 97 million, a 39% increase on the same period last year and resulting in a 14% margin compared with 12% for first quarter 2007. Gamesa says improved margins are the result of tighter cost control and resolution of teething troubles with its new factories in China and the US, including a series blade failure in America. The wind turbine business sold 836 MW, 25% up on the same period for 2007 and bringing in EUR 681 million, 85% of total group sales and 22% up on last year. Of that, 67% went to customers outside Spain compared with well under half for first quarter 2007. The rest of Europe accounted for 25%, the US 23%, and China 14%. Revenues from sales of wind farms with a combined capacity of 94 MW was EUR 167 million, up 113% on the first quarter 2007. The EUR 50 million difference between the reported figure for total sales and the combined figure for sales of turbines and completed projects "is due to inter-group sales, which are adjusted in the consolidated results," says Gamesa.