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Vestas even worse off than predicted one month ago

- By Charlotte Stubben

Vestas reported 2011 results lower than preliminary figures given in early January and said it expected a 2012 operating profit margin in a range of 0-4 percent.

2011 was a very challenging year for the wind industry. The same applies to Vestas which had to issue two profit warnings and abandon its Triple15 targets.

In 2011, Vestas recorded revenue of EUR 5.8bn and an EBIT margin before special items of (0.7) per cent, slightly below the preliminary financial figures for 2011 announced on 3 January 2012 due to later-than-expected deliveries.

The results and revenue for the year are, however, substantially lower than the original expectations of an EBIT margin of 7 per cent and revenue of EUR 7bn, which is disappointing. The projects in questions have not been cancelled but postponed and that they are expected to be handed over and recognised as income in 2012, however, at a lower contribution margin due to higher costs than originally anticipated.

On the other hand, the intake of firm and unconditional orders of 7,397 MW with a value of EUR 7.3bn, was in line with expectations.

Net working capital amounted to EUR (71)m, an improvement of EUR 743m. The improvement was attributable especially to the reduction of component inventories following a successful make-to-order implementation, higher pre-payments and trade payables.

Outlook
Based on, among other things, input from a number of the company’s large shareholders, Vestas has decided to reduce the number of outlook parameters it provides to the public. Furthermore, Vestas has decided to introduce guidance ranges for earnings (EBIT), revenue and the free cash flow to take into account the heavy fluctuations characterising these items depending on timing of order intake, production, shipments and final delivery to the customers.

Read more: Vestas inks 50 MW order in China

For 2012, Vestas expects to achieve an EBIT margin of between 0-4 per cent and revenue of EUR 6,500-8,000m, including service revenue, which is expected to rise to approx EUR 850m with an EBIT margin of around 14 per cent. The EBIT margin will be adversely affected primarily by too high production costs for the V112-3.0 MW turbine and the GridStreamer™ technology, which will be reduced in the course of the year and by an expected increase in depreciation and amortisation charges of approx EUR 100m. Total warranty and product provisions are expected to account for less than 3 per cent of the expected revenue for the year.

Shipments which are expected to increase to approx 7 GW with the present production plans will peak in the middle of the year, while deliveries may fluctuate heavily over the quarters.

Disruptions in production
Disruptions in production and challenges in relation to wind turbine installation, for example bad weather, lack of grid connections and similar matters may thus cause delays that could affect Vestas’ financial results for 2012.

Read more: Vestas welcomes EU decision on a 27 per cent renewable energy target

Total investments are expected to be EUR 550m, of which investments in intangible assets are expected to amount to EUR 350m, which among other things, includes higher investments in the development of the V164-7.0 MW offshore turbine. Total research and development expenditure is now expected to amount to EUR 450m in 2012. The lower investments in intangible assets and R&D expenditure are caused by a more focused R&D organisation.

Read related article Disarray in Vestas: CFO gets fired and top Board members quit on Metal Supply.


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