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Vestas profits fall 75% in first quarter

Earlier price pressures weigh on wind giant but orders pile up ahead of 'extraordinarily busy' 2019

Vestas continued to pile on orders in the first quarter of the year, but the hangover of price pressures helped send net profits down 75% at the global wind OEM giant.

The Danish group booked 3GW of orders in the January-March period, almost double the same stage last year as its combined turbine and service backlog grew to a record €28.3bn ($31.7bn), up 31%.

The Q1 orders came with an increased average selling price (ASP) of €0.81m/MW, up from €0.76m/MW in the previous quarter and €0.73m/MW in the same quarter a year earlier.

Vestas said the better ASP reflected turbine type and geography, while underlying prices “remained fairly stable”.

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Revenue was 2% higher year-on-year at €1.73bn. However, former price pressure in the market continued to weigh on Vestas as its quarterly net profit slumped to €25m from a year earlier €102m. The company’s gross margin fell three percentage points to 13.6%.

CEO Anders Runevad – who yesterday said he will step down from the top job at Vestas in August – said: “While underlying prices remain fairly stable and our Service business continues to grow in both revenue and profit, our results were as expected negatively impacted by orders received during the price decline in 2017.

“Furthermore, external factors such as tariffs and raw material prices increased cost as projected in the quarter.

“With activity levels planned to be significantly higher in the second half of 2019, we leverage our market-leading position to ramp up for executing an extraordinarily busy 2019, while introducing new solutions that accelerate the energy transition.”

Vestas maintained its financial outlook for the full-year.

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