In a generally weak economic environment, Nordex’s sales for 2009 increased to EUR 1,183 million (2008: EUR 1,136 million), materially underpinned by export business, which accounted for roughly 97 percent of total sales. In particular, Nordex USA widened its business volume substantially, posting a roughly 130 percent increase in sales to EUR 135 million.
Despite the mounting competition, the profitability of the wind energy projects completed in the year under review improved, with the gross margin widening to 22.8% (2008: 21.1%). On the other hand, the staff cost ratio climbed to 9.2% (2008: 6.9%), reflecting the establishment of new national companies, intensified product development and extensions to plant facilities in Germany and the United States. As a result, earnings before interest and taxes dropped to EUR 40 million (2008: EUR 63 million), equivalent to an EBIT margin of 3.5%. In the final quarter of 2009, the EBIT margin widened to 4.9% again on sales of EUR 369 million thanks to greater capacity utilization.
All told, Nordex emerged from the difficult conditions in 2009 with solid balance sheet structures and a continued high equity ratio of 41% (2008: 38%). At the same time, liquidity improved noticeably by 43 percent, rising to around EUR 160 million despite capital spending of EUR 51.1 million (2008: EUR 70.5 million). Nordex was able to achieve a net cash inflow of EUR 9.6 million from operating activities (2008: net cash outflow of EUR 59.5 million) primarily as a result of a reduction of EUR 125 million in inventories.
Compared with the wind power industry as a whole, new business was satisfactory, albeit generally lower. With prices largely stable, the volume of firmly financed new orders contracted by 16% to EUR 734 million. According to MAKE Consulting, new business in the wind power industry in its entirety shrank by around 40%. This trend was chiefly spurred by the continued insufficient availability of finance for wind farm projects.
“After disappointing order intake at the beginning of the year, we are now seeing preliminary positive signals and expect material impetus for new growth to emerge in the second half of 2010 in particular. As a result, we may be able to achieve a similarly top-line growth as in 2009 and benefit from economies of scale this year,” says Thomas Richterich, CEO of Nordex SE. Lending already started picking up again in 2009. In addition, many banks have cleaned up their balance sheets, meaning that more liquidity is now available for project finance. Continues Richterich: “There has been no change in the implementation of our strategic projects. We will be continuing to invest in extensions to our international structures, raise our facilities to a new industrial level and intensify product development.” Thus, Nordex is unveiling the new “Gamma” generation of its 2.5 MW series in April 2010 and already secured a major 295 MW contract for this new model on April 9.
During today’s press and analyst conference, the Management Board will be presenting the annual financial statements and the outlook for the Group.
At the beginning of 2010, the number of Nordex wind turbines installed around the world since 1985 passed the 4,000 mark. Of the globally installed nominal output of 5.67 GW, some 52% is accounted for by the multi-megawatt class, which was launched in 2000.