The improved profitability of the projects executed was reflected in a higher gross margin of 26.7 percent in the first nine months (previous year: 22.3 percent). At the same time, structural costs declined by 3.5 percent to EUR 152 million (previous year: EUR 157.5 million). The rise in staff costs and depreciation/amortization expense reflects the Company’s investments in its future profitability. Thus, Nordex has launched a cost-cutting program as well as an initiative to boost the efficiency of its wind turbines to enhance its competitiveness on a sustainable basis.
Cumulative EBIT for the period from January to September amounted to EUR 17.3 million (previous year: EUR 21.9 million). Of this, the Company generated EUR 10.2 million in the third quarter, the quarter with the greatest volume of sales in the year to date. With net borrowing costs remaining almost unchanged, consolidated profit for the first nine months amounted to EUR 8.5 million (previous year: EUR 9.9 million).
As of September 30, cash and cash equivalents stood at EUR 121.2 million (December 31, 2009: EUR 159.9 million), up slightly by EUR 8 million compared with the end of June. The cash flow from operating activities improved to EUR -0.8 million (previous year EUR 6.7 million) thanks to the substantial net inflow recorded in the third quarter (EUR 18.5 million).
Contrary to its previous forecast, the Management Board now no longer expects a small increase in sales for 2010 and currently projects a figure of around one billion euros (previous year: EUR 1.183 billion). The forecast is chiefly based on the assumption that the portfolio of firmly financed orders worth EUR 423 million will be largely executed together with contractually guaranteed service business and the commencement of a small proportion of work on new orders booked in the final quarter of the year. As of the balance sheet date, Nordex had conditional orders worth around EUR 1.9 billion on its books in addition to the firm contracts.
The Management Board reaffirms its guidance with respect to the EBIT margin widening to 4 percent (previous year: 3.5 percent).The lower degree of capacity utilization compared with original expectations will be largely offset by the initial effects of the cost-cutting program. Turning to the fourth quarter, the Company expects a substantial increase in new business as a basis for growth in the new year. Accordingly, there is already clear evidence indicating that – as in the previous years – the fourth quarter will be the strongest in 2010 in terms of both sales and earnings.