Global industry faces a “pandemic force majeure” if the coronavirus prompts a prolonged shutdown in China, said the chief executive of wind equipment giant Vestas as he revealed the group is laying plans around a restart of the supply chain there next week.
Henrik Andersen – who visited China as recently as mid-January – said the company and its 3,000 employees there are to a large extent in the hands of the Chinese authorities over plans for a delayed resumption of activity following the new year holidays.
China affects the “whole supply chain from the commodity part the component part,” Andersen told financial analysts discussing Vestas’ full-year results.
“We all appreciate if China remains closed for weeks or even worse months, I think it is the whole world that will have a pandemic force majeure. That of course we will have to deal with like any other.”
Andersen said Vestas’ latest planning is based around expectations of a gradual restart next week. “If that’s the case, we’ll see how the supply chain is,” he said, adding that China was accustomed to returning from complete activity shutdowns after holiday periods in any case.
The CEO said the company would see how it could make up for any lost time, but cautioned that some areas can’t be rushed. “A blade has to have the time for curing it needs,” he said.
Denmark-based Vestas confirmed last week that it has put travel restrictions in place for its global workforce following the outbreak.
Andersen’s comments echoed those of Markus Tacke, his CEO counterpart at wind group Siemens Gamesa. Tacke said yesterday: “We are continuously monitoring the implications of the coronavirus development situation in China and its potential implications on the global supply chain.
“Until now, it is well under control and contained. If this develops into a global slowdown of logistics, the impact is too early to determine.”
Recharge reported last week how Chinese commentators have already warned of a knock-on effect to renewable energy projects seeking to build before government support deadlines.
Additional reporting by Bernd Radowitz