Alstom Wind Sees Turbine Growth in Europe Offshore Bids

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Alstom SA, the third-largest power-equipment maker, expects higher sales for its wind turbines this year and next, buoyed by growing demand in Brazil and offshore bids in Europe.

“We’ve improved all our financial indicators this fiscal year,” ending March, compared with last year, including sales, order intake and operational performance, Alstom renewable unit chief Jerome Pecresse said in a March 15 interview. “We’re expecting growth to continue next year.”

“We’re seeing strong growth of the Brazilian market this year,” Pecresse said at company headquarters near Paris.  “We’re also seeing the pickup of the offshore wind industry in Europe,” which should account for “several gigawatts of new installs per year” within five years.

Alstom entered the wind market through the purchase of Spain’s Ecotecnia in 2007. It has yet to crack the top 10 global suppliers in the industry, though today it’s inaugurating a prototype for offshore farms to gain market share, at a time when the land-based wind market is suffering from overcapacity. (Bloomberg)

A half-decade boom in onshore wind-farm installations in the U.S., Europe and Asia fueled competition among turbine makers, forcing them to cut prices. Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s largest producer, and Suzlon Energy Ltd. reported wider-than-expected losses last month.

 “There are overcapacities in many geographical areas,” the Alstom executive said. “In the long run, that will progressively translate into the concentration of the industry,” as building offshore wind turbines requires “significant” balance sheets, and “a good deal of customers will focus on a limited number of suppliers.”

Alstom’s wind business has remained profitable even as prices slumped, thanks to the company’s global footprint, which allows it to buy parts such as forgings in India and China, and “established” relations with utilities, Pecresse said.

Alstom, which has wind turbine plants in Spain, Brazil and Texas, may seek a partner to develop its business in Asia, where it has no wind footprint, Pecresse said.

Still, “offshore, Latin and North America are the priorities,” he said.

The plant in Amarillo, Texas, only has “a few small contracts,” amid a “very competitive backdrop” in the U.S.


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