Vestas is about to fail yet again

Vestas wind turbine, Dithmarschen.

Windmill

The CEO Ditlev Engel of Vestas has yet again failed to meet the targets he and his management team have set for the company. While Vestas made the target of securing orders for over 7000 MW it failed to control costs in other parts of the company.

The Wind turbine manufacturer has once again disappointed investors with a noticeable downward adjustment because of delays and excessive extra costs compared to planned.

The revision of expected earnings of 255 million. euro to around zero enforces the sentiment among Vestas investors and analysts that there are management issues at Veatsas. Ditlev Engel acknowledges flatly that it is not good enough. “It is the second time within a short time that the introduction of new technology creates problems. It is obviously not good enough,” he says to epn a Danish business newspaper.

Basically this means that the Vestas stock is about to take another big hit within the next few days. In the past 52 weeks the stick has lost 60% of its value moving from a high of 232 down to 69 kr per share. And with the latest proclamation there is no reason to think that it will not fall even further.

According to Vestas are the problems associated with new technology for their V112-3.0 MW mill. and higher than expected costs of production. This should be seen in light that just a few months ago the company fired 3000 employees in Denmark.

Time for leadership change at Vestas

Windmill 02

Vestas Windmill

The board and management of Vestas Windsystems the biggest windmill producer in the world need to take a real hard look at themselves and how they conduct their business.

For to long the board have clinched to the hope that their CEO, Ditlev Engel, would have some sort of grip on the realities he and the company is facing. Year after year, quarter after quarter he has led the people who have put their trust in his statement down.

By being to optimistic he has again and again showed that he is unable to set realistic targets and even when nobody else has any doubt, which way the market is going. Vestas keep on insisting on unrealistic targets. Take for example the target of firm and unconditional orders for 7000-8000 MW and an EBIT margin of 7%. But until date the intake is only around 5200 MW very far from the and when the average announced intake is only around 80MW per order it is hard to imagine that the company will reach its targets in 2011. The investors have already taken the necessary steps and have punished the stock so that the change in stock price from last year is -58%. With the fall in the last 6 months of 53% it is clear that investors wants to see real change especially when it comes to realistic communication by management.

Investors like to know what they are buying and at the moment they do not trust the communication coming from Veatsa and when a company have lost the trust of their investors it is a true sign that change have to happen and happen fast. For the past three or four years there have been hopes that Ditlev Engel would start to deliver as he promised and time and time again he has been unable. I do not think that it is a loss of confidence in the product or the way that Vesats have put their business model together. Rather investors do not believe a word that Ditlev Engel is speaking and that is a real problem for the company as a whole.

As I see it is Vestas at the moment really undervalued and would be a good target for a takeover for a smaller windmill producer that could put in effective management.

The board need to step in and find a replacement that can build confidence with the market there is CEOs out there who have the necessary experience and competencies to bring Vestas back on track.