LM Wind Power Seeing Uptick In Demand On Tax Credit Uncertainty

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 107 views 

Despite a worldwide slowdown in demand and a substandard 2011 in sales and profits, wind turbine maker LM Wind Power says all systems are go in 2012.

Yesterday, the Denmark-based wind systems manufacturer reported falling profits of 41% in 2011 on declining sales of 2.7% for the full year 2011.

“We will continue to face difficult market circumstances with overcapacity, slower demand and price pressure,” LM Wind Power CEO Roland Sunden said in its annual report released on Tuesday.

The rough 2011 led to layoffs early last year of 180 workers, about 3% of LM’s workforce.

LM Wind Power says demand fell in part due to the world financial crisis that hit its European markets harder. The company also cited Chinese competition for the downturn.

In its North American market, the wind energy industry as a whole has been hampered by Congressional uncertainty regarding tax credits for wind projects. Congress has yet to approve a wind energy tax credit that expires at the end of this year.

That uncertainty has actually boosted demand in 2012 as customers have rushed projects to beat the credit deadline.

Adam Ruple, human resources director for LM’s North American facility in Little Rock, tells Talk Business that the company has ramped up temporary workers to meet the spike in demand.

“Specific to 2012 and where we are at this time, we’ve ramped up,” Ruple said. “We have a lot of customers compressing orders into 2012.”

With a large factory presence and continental headquarters in Little Rock, LM also has manufacturing operations in Grand Forks, North Dakota and Gaspé, Quebec.

Ruple said about 250 temporary workers have been added in North America to meet the accelerated order schedule and depending on the tax credit’s fate and customer demand, he foresees no workforce changes at this time.

“We have no plans to reduce LM payroll employees or have a reduction in force. Demand through 2012 is solid,” he said.