One rising star in the Danish twilight -- Half yearly reports

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Amid the series of company downsizing and downgrading of turnover and profit forecasts that have characterised the Danish wind industry over the past half year, Bonus is the only major member of the Danish wind industry to report growth. As a private company, Bonus is not obliged to issue a half yearly report, but director Palle Nørgaard says turnover has increased by 25% since the start of its fiscal year in November and profits are expected to be the same as in previous years. Bonus profit last year was EUR 15.9 million on a turnover of EUR 283 million.

The private ownership of Bonus means the company is also alone among Danish wind turbine makers in being free to shun any takeover attempts -- unlike the publicly traded wind companies, where low share prices today leave them wide open to purchase by overseas interests. Not that consolidation is necessarily feared by the industry. There is broad agreement that mergers are likely in the coming years.

Nørgaard says Bonus has an advantage in not being under the same pressures to perform in the short term as its publicly traded competitors, Vestas, NEG Micon and Nordex. The Copenhagen and Frankfurt stock exchanges are keen wind industry observers and reward or punish every tiny item of news released by the companies. Bonus, says Nørgaard, "can concentrate on running a company without having to think about the often nervous reaction of the stock market."

Nordex was the most recent of the public trio to create headline news of the catastrophic variety when the Danish-German company said it expected to make a loss both this year and next. Orders in the first half year have fallen by 60% and Nordex, which has suffered a significant leadership crisis, is undergoing a finely detailed review aimed at more cost-cutting measures.

Blade supplier LM Glasfiber reports a 50% reduction in turnover for the first half year, resulting in a loss of EUR 4.7 million compared with a profit of EUR 9.8 million in the same period last year.

Vestas surprised analysts in it quarterly report by not downgrading its sales expectations for the year. That overshadowed its reduced profit forecast from 8% to 7% of turnover. The profit margin will rise to 10% next year, promises Vestas boss Svend Sigaard. He reports "good vibes" about orders currently being negotiated.

NEG Micon last month reported increased uncertainty about reaching its projections for 2003. Turnover in the spring has been less than budgeted and the falling dollar, along with other currencies, is putting NEG Micon under pressure. The company retains its projection, however, of a profit of EUR 33.7 million and a significant improvement in working capital.

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