Danish turbine maker Vestas enjoys record orders

Danish turbine maker Vestas enjoys record orders
Wind turbine orders in the first quarter rose 37 percent. Photo: Courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems.
Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems on Friday reported a fall in sales and profits but cheered investors by announcing a record order backlog.

“Vestas delivered record high first-quarter order intake as well as our largest ever combined wind turbine and service order backlog,” chief executive Anders Runevad said in a statement.

Net profit plunged 38 percent to €35 million ($40 million), higher than a Bloomberg analyst consensus of €26 million, as revenue dropped four percent to €1.46 billion.

The group said wind turbine orders in the first quarter rose 37 percent measured by capacity from a year ago and that the order backlog stood at €8.6 billion as of March 31st.

The combined backlog of wind turbine orders and service agreements was worth €18 billion, up €3 billion from the same period last year.

“Free cash flow, although at negative levels, was in line with expectations as we build up inventory preparing for a busy remainder of 2016,” Runevad said.

The group reiterated an annual revenue forecast of at least nine billion euros, and for a margin of 11 percent on earnings before interest, taxes and special items.

The results “emphasise that Vestas is in better shape than ever,” Sydbank analyst Jacob Pedersen wrote in a note to investors.

The group has trimmed costs over the past few years, after it had to cut 3,000 jobs in 2011 as an expansion plan coincided with governments cutting subsidies for renewable energy in the wake of the financial crisis.

Shares in the company were five percent higher in early afternoon trading on the Copenhagen stock exchange, where the main index was 0.29 percent higher.