German manufacturer Nordex emerged triumphant with a huge order in Finland even though it might looked like an order that could have ended up at Vestas. And that could prompt jittery nerves, according to Jacob Pedersen, senior analyst at Sydbank.
He sees what looks like a defeat for Vestas as an expression of Vestas' competitors holding off on raising prices at the same pace as the Danish market leader – even though the prices for a wide variety of wind turbine components have risen significantly.
"Viewed in isolation, it's a negative sign when a competitor carries off what might very well look like a Vestas order. I don't think Vestas is alone in facing price increases, but they have presumably gone further than the competitors, and that might shift a few market shares for a short while, and that could prompt some investors to grow nervous," says Pedersen to MarketWire.
Pedersen's assessment follows in the wake of Tuesday's announcement by Nordex of a Finnish 380MW order, its biggest yet in Finland.
Old Vestas client
Finnish utility Fortum, which has previously placed orders with Vestas, has opted for the German competitor for wind project Pjelax-Böle-Kristinestad Norr.
The news comes just a few days after Vestas concluded a disappointing fourth quarter on the order side, with supply contracts of just 2,011MW being announced against 3,818MW in the same period of the previous year.
"This is a Vestas customer that is now opting for a competitor for the first time, and this serves to enhance the impression that Vestas' competitors have been slightly slower to pull the trigger as far as raising the prices," says Pedersen.
However, price increases are necessary for the competitors as well, as Nordex, GE and Siemens Gamesa have all posted operating deficits.
"In my view, based on the comments we've received from Nordex for some time, it might cause surprise if it means that they aren't doing anything on the price side. They have been fairly explicit about targeting profitability and not volumes," says Pedersen.
However, the exact situation in the market will only emerge when Vestas and its competitors present their accounts and publish the average sales prices for the orders that have been booked.
"By that time, we'll be able to gain an idea of the real picture," says Pedersen.