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Manufacturer Nordex: Losses at wind turbine builder

Manufacturer Nordex: Losses at wind turbine builder

Status: 06/21/2022 5:00 p.m

Renewable energies are in demand like never before, but solar and wind power companies such as the plant manufacturer Nordex are still having problems. Why is that – and is there still hope for the ailing industry?

By Constantin Röse, ARD Stock Exchange Studio.

On average, approval for a wind turbine in Germany takes more than 22 months. But often even longer – four to five years are not uncommon in some federal states. That should change: more speed in the energy transition, also because of the Ukraine war – that is a goal of the federal government. Plant manufacturers should be in a celebratory mood, there really can’t be any better prospects. But nothing: The wind turbine manufacturer Nordex from Hamburg reports high losses in the first quarter.

Tough competition and cost pressure

The bottom line is a minus of around 150 million euros. The Nordex share price fell to a two-year low at times. However, the entire industry has problems, explains Stefan Riss, capital market strategist at asset manager Acatis: “We can see from Nordex’s figures that a company that is not in the best position when it comes to cost management – gets into big problems because there are competitors , like the American General Electric, like Vestas from Denmark, but also companies from China that produce cheaply.”

Strong competition on the one hand, cost pressure on the other. In particular, material costs have risen due to disrupted supply chains. But because contracts were negotiated at fixed prices, wind turbine builders are now in trouble. The Spanish Siemens subsidiary Siemens Gamesa is also feeling this. The group has been making losses for years, which is why it wants to close plants and cut jobs.

Rotor blade production in Rostock is discontinued

Just like Nordex. The company will cease rotor blade production at its Rostock site at the end of June. Around 600 employees are affected. According to estimates, 60,000 jobs in the wind industry have already been relocated abroad in the past ten years. This means that research and development competence is also lost.

This is reminiscent of the collapse of the German solar industry. “The German wind power industry faces a similar fate,” says Mauricio Vargas, an economist at Greenpeace. “Instead of further promoting and expanding wind power, it has been slowed down. There is a tough price war, and if the federal government does not quickly create more favorable framework conditions here, it would not be surprising if wind power were to leave Germany.”

The federal government wants to avoid this and is now setting clear targets for the expansion of renewable energies: by 2030, for example, wind energy at sea, so-called offshore wind energy, is to be more than tripled, and approval procedures are to be simplified and precise area specifications made.

Investors prefer operator shares

In any case, the wind turbine companies are confident – despite the currently very difficult situation. “If our federal government gets started now, lays a clear foundation, enables investment plans and, in the future, trust in the government is restored that we really want to implement it together, then I can see that we can do it,” says Heike Winkler, from the wind energy Industry network WAB.

The chances are not bad that the wind industry will become an economic engine in the long term, say stock market professionals – even if the share prices of wind turbine manufacturers are currently plummeting. Investors who invest in green shares prefer to switch to wind farm operators like Encavis. Prices are going up here thanks to the strong winds on land and at sea.

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