Sales spurt means a push into profit

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Germany's Nordex increased wind turbine sales 140% to EUR 252 million in the first half of 2006 compared with EUR 105 million in the same period last year. Like its rival Repower (story this page) the improvement is enough to put it into profit: earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were EUR 7.6 million compared with a loss of EUR 11.4 million in the first half of 2005. It sold 250 MW in the reporting period, up from 90 MW a year ago, with 80% of that outside Germany.

Nordex has increased its sales projection for 2006 from EUR 460 million to EUR 500 million and expects growth of 50% in each of the next two years along with improved profitability. Its order backlog has doubled to EUR 412 million in mid 2006, compared with EUR 212 million in mid 2005. Including EUR 470 million in conditional orders, Nordex's order book is larger than Repower's at EUR 725.1 million of unconditional and conditional orders in mid 2006.

Nordex has long been a target for takeover speculation, but its current high market value of EUR 800 million has silenced the talk. "At the moment a strategic investor is not necessary since current owner Goldman Sachs is providing support in operative business," says the company's Ralf Peters. "Nordex has enough resources to expand."

Most recently it entered into a EUR 20 million joint venture turbine blade production works in Dongying in eastern China. The plant will make blades for 1.5 MW turbines and output in 2007 is expected to reach 225 blades for 75 turbines or 110 MW. The site allows for expansion to an annual 400 MW. In the spring Nordex began construction of assembly facilities in China for 1.5 MW turbines in the province of Ningxia in partnership with two regional utilities, Ningxia Electric Power Group and Ningxia Tianjing Electric Energy Development Group. It is preparing similar partnerships in other provinces, all of which will source their blades from Dongying.

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