Vestas sees benefits of strength

Vestas CEO Anders Runevad said the wind group is seeing the benefits of greater market confidence in its financial position as it competes for sales.

With Vestas' balance sheet in a far healthier state than for some years after a major corporate and financial restructuring process, Runevad said the company was seeing an impact in the market.

“It’s definitely fair to say that in discussions we have with customers they recognise that we have a completely different financial strength than we had before. A positive change for sure,” Runevad said, responding to a question from Recharge Insight director Robert Clover during a call with financial analysts.

However, the company has no plans to make any acquisitions.

Runevad said Vestas' general position was one of “good progress” after a set of first quarter financial figures that beat analysts’ expectations.

Investors signalled their approval of the wind group's situation by sending Vestas shares almost 7% higher in late-morning trading in Copenhagen.

The Q1 figures included an order intake of 1.19GW, 84% higher than in the same three months of 2013.

The Danish group booked 25% of its orders in the first quarter from the US, which accounted for 292MW in the January to March period.

The company has ongoing ambitions in markets such as Brazil – where it will participate in the upcoming wind power auction – and in China “where we have the capability to grow”, said the Vestas CEO.

Runevad said the company’s new offshore wind joint venture is set to compete in a “smaller but more realistic” market than envisaged 18 months ago.

Runevad said MHI Vestas Offshore – the company’s JV with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan – is on track with development of its flagship V164 8MW turbine.

Runevad said: “What I see now is a smaller market in offshore than we saw a year ago, but on the other hand a much more realistic scenario.

“There were very high expectations a year or a year and a half ago, with talk in the market of 30GW or so on. We see that expectation coming down – but still a considerable and very interesting market.”

Runevad is encouraged by “greater clarity” in the offshore ambitions and policy support from key markets such as Germany and the UK.

The Vestas CEO said the company does not expect to need to put any additional funding into the JV.