Nordex aiming for further growth after a record year in 2008
– Rise in annual sales to EUR 1,136 (747) million
– 58% increase in EBIT to EUR 63 (40) million
– CEO Richterich: “90% of sales target for 2009 already secured”
Hamburg, April 21, 2009. With the publication of its annual report for last year, the Nordex Group (ISIN: DE000A0D6554) has confirmed that 2008 was another record year. For the fourth year running, consolidated sales were up by more than 50%. With an increase of 52%, Nordex passed the one billion euro threshold for the first time, achieving sales of EUR 1.136 billion. “Not only did we reach our ambitious growth targets but have also managed to appreciably close the gap between us and the market leader year for year,” says Thomas Richterich, CEO of Nordex AG.
The company was able to substantially extend its position in Europe in particular, achieving double digit market share in various countries such as the UK (27%), France and Italy (16% each) in line with plans. In Europe as a whole, the company is one of the leading players with 10% of all new installations. At the same time, Nordex recorded high triple-digit top-line sales growth in the major US and Chinese markets.
Thanks to the heightened profitability of the projects completed, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose by 58% to EUR 63 (40) million, thus achieved the forecast range (EUR 60 – 66 million). This favorable performance was particularly underpinned by the second half of the year, in which sales were stronger, resulting in a return on sales of 7.0%. After capital spending of EUR 72.4 million, cash and cash equivalents were valued at around EUR 112 million as of the balance sheet date (December 31, 2008). Thanks to the strong liquidity, net financial result improved to EUR 1.0 million. Consolidated net profit came to around EUR 50.0 million after income taxes of around EUR 14.5 million.
With a solid balance sheet structure and a continued good equity ratio of around 38%, the volume of capital tied up increased. Thus, inventories rose by around 60% to EUR 372 million in preparation of new wind farm projects and planned extensions to the facility in China. This year, inventories will drop back down again substantially due to adjustments in line with requirements on the basis of the current sales forecast.
The working capital ratio increased to 14.0% as very few reservation fees were received for customer projects in the second half of the year. However, Nordex is continuing to receive advance payments of around 20% from its customers for firm delivery contracts. The reduction in inventories will also help to keep the working capital ratio steady at this normalized level.
Despite a likely flat overall market, Nordex’s Management Board still expects to achieve further growth in 2009. Says Richterich: “Our customers are showing unabated strong interest in new wind power systems. However, they are increasingly facing the challenge of having to obtain the necessary debt capital component, which is why we expect some projects to be postponed until 2010. We have already reached almost 90% of our growth target for this year (approx. EUR 1.2 billion) thanks to contracts for which firm finance has been received.” Although the overall volume for financing “green” power stations is still under pressure, Nordex’s new business widened to EUR 234 million in the first quarter of 2009.
Profitability will probably be weaker in 2009 than in the previous year as no additional economies of scale will be harnessed for growth-related reasons. Explains Richterich: “At the same time, we are investing in new structures to ensure that we are able to continue growing. However, we have postponed some capex projects to avoid unnecessary strain.” All told, Nordex plans to invest another EUR 70 million this year. The company assumes that it will return to a higher double-digit growth rate in the medium term and thus confirms analysts’ forecasts that the economic stimulus measures will help to spur this sector. Banks estimate that the economic stimulus packages adopted all around the world will channel some EUR 340 billion into the renewable energies segment.