29.5.2003: Meldung: Vestas Wind Systems 1st Quarter Information
Vestas continues to have positive expectations for the global market for wind power for 2003. Germany is still by far the largest market for wind power in Europe and Vestas has experienced a very positive development regarding sales and order intake on the German market. Thus Vestas has gained market share in the first quarter of 2003. Vestas expects to continue this positive development for the rest of the year and anticipates that Germany will be the largest market for especially the V80-2.0 MW wind turbine also in 2003. New rules and legislation for future power sales prices have been adopted in the Netherlands, however, an inexpedient method for calculating full load hours means that projects are postponed. It is expected that the new Dutch government will change this basis of calculation and Vestas has positive expectations for the Dutch market. So far a clarification concerning the raising of the long-term goal for green energy in Italy is lacking. A clarification of this issue is now expected to take place in the second half-year of 2003. Against this background, several projects are postponed and Vestas has therefore reduced its expectations for the Italian market in 2003. However, Vestas still perceives this market as positive due to the fact that green energy still is in short supply. Green certifications were traded in the first quarter of 2003 at the fixed maximum price. On the British Isles, Vestas has experienced a positive development in the first quarter of the year and incoming orders and sales have been satisfactory. In the autumn of 2002, Vestas was selected to be the supplier of the first of a total of 18 planned offshore projects. Installation of foundations for the 30 units of V80-2.0 MW wind turbines was started in the first quarter of 2003. Further, in March 2003 Vestas was chosen as supplier for the Scroby Sands project, which is the second of the 18 planned offshore wind power plants. This project involves the delivery of 30 V80-2.0 MW turbines as a turnkey project. Additionally, Vestas has been chosen as the supplier for the first offshore wind turbine plant in Belgian waters. This offshore wind park consists of 50 V80-2.0 MW offshore turbines, of which 10 wind turbines were to be commissioned in the summer 2003. During the first quarter of 2003 the project has, however, been postponed due to objections against the Belgian government"s procedural handling of building permits. The project is now expected to start in 2004 at the earliest. During the first quarter of 2003, the activities in Scandinavia have been focusing on the completion of tests on the offshore wind power plant at Horns Reef in the North Sea off the west coast of Denmark. Final delivery is planned to take place in June 2003. As expected the activities on the Danish market have been limited due to the lower power sales prices after the end of 2002. Vestas finds the Danish government"s decision to accelerate the tenders for the next three offshore wind power plants as a positive step forward in order to achieve an additional expansion of wind power in Denmark. However, Vestas foresees that in order to obtain the required interest for the projects, changes in connection with the sales prices for power generated by the three new offshore wind power plants are necessary to take place. Furthermore, it is satisfactory that a renewable energy law has been adopted in Sweden. This ensures a continuing stable expansion of wind power resulting in positive expectations for the Swedish market. As described in the Annual Report 2002, Vestas has decided to access the Spanish market either via acquisition or via establishment of own production. Vestas is still considering both options, but at present, Vestas is likely to establish own production. This will lead to a somewhat longer period of establishment, however, Vestas" access will in this way be based on well-documented new technology. On the North American market, Canada is developing positively as expected due to the clarification achieved in 2002 of future power sales prices. The market in the United States is continuously characterised by repeated postponements or non-establishment of a range of projects due to the considerably dollar exchange dip and difficulties with financing due to decreasing ratings of some electricity companies. At the moment, Vestas negotiates projects for delivery in 2003 and expects to conclude the negotiations before the end of June. Hereafter, the expected sales on the American market in 2003 will be achieved. The lack of a long-term energy legislation, stating clear objectives for renewable energy, makes the American market for wind power an unstable market. The market development is closely connected to an extension of the PTC scheme. Vestas still expects that an extension will be adopted at the end of 2003 at the earliest. The markets in Oceania and in Asia have lived up to Vestas" expectations in the first quarter of 2003. During 2003, Vestas will deliver the second phase of the Tararua project, consisting of 55 units of V47-660 kW turbines. In summary, the order intake has resulted in a satisfactory order backlog at the end of the first quarter of 2003. The total backlog of firm and unconditional orders corresponds to approximately four months" average production at Vestas, which is at the level of end March 2002. Products and production The next generation in the Vestas product range is the V90-3.0 MW turbine with a groundbreaking design, setting new standards for the efficiency of wind turbines. It has been possible to reduce the weight of the turbine by means of new materials and design and thus the loads of the V90 wind turbine are on the same level as Vestas" well-known V80 turbine. New solutions for transportation, erection, service, and maintenance improve the competitiveness of the V90 turbine even further. The prototypes undergo various tests and verifications and are subject to a range of climatic conditions. The test results have been positive and based on the operational experiences to date and the initiating product launch, Vestas still expects serial production to start in 2004. The planned adjustment of Vestas" manufacturing capacity from kW- to MW-turbines is happening faster than previously expected and at the end of 2003, more than 80 per cent of Vestas" manufacturing capacity will be available for MW-turbines. At the end of the first quarter of 2003, this adjustment resulted in a reduction of the labour force of 192 employees in especially the blade factory in Lem, Denmark. Furthermore, the level of activities has been reduced on the blade and assembly factory in Taranto, Italy. Expectations for 2003 The expectations for 2003 are based on firm and unconditional orders, a number of conditional orders and planned projects. In summary, current expectations for 2003 are unchanged a turnover of bnEUR 1.7-1.8. The EBIT margin for 2003 was expected to be approximately 8 per cent at the time of the publication of the Annual Report 2002. In that connection it was noted that a continuing volatility in exchange rates and finance opportunities might affect turnover and profits. Especially the British pound and the American dollar have developed adversely for Vestas. This results in a sharpening of competition and puts the sales price under pressure, especially in the United States. Against this background, Vestas now expects the EBIT margin to be reduced by around 1 percentage point to approximately 7 per cent. On a continuing basis, Vestas expects 30-35 per cent of the turnover forecast for 2003 to be generated in the first six months. This will result in an unchanged EBIT of 0 for this period. For this reason, and on account of the desire to make optimal use of available production capacity, production will balance over the year as a whole. As a result, the balance sheet will as planned show high inventories at 30 June 2003. The Vestas Group expects to publish its interim financial statement for the 1st half-year of 2003 on 19 August 2003. In connection with the publication of this present quarterly information, Vestas will host a telephone conference today, Wednesday 28 May 2003 at 3 p.m. (CET). The telephone conference will be held in English. Interested parties from Denmark may call ph. +45 3271 4611, interested parties from the rest of Europe may call ph. +44 7162 0184, and interested parties from the US may call ph. +1 334 323 6203.
Any questions may be addressed to the Board of Management at Vestas Wind Systems A/S, phone +45 9675 2575.