Wind energy Vestas – Growth in number of private shareholders

The number of Vestas shareholders is growing at a steady pace. By the end of June 2011, the number of shareholders reached 162,837 – an increase of 29,387 (22 per cent) in just a year and approximately 100,000 more than ten years ago.

It appears to be Danish private investors, who have picked up the Vestas shares. The shares of capital have moved from 31.5 per cent in Denmark to approximately 40 per cent. Combined with the fact that 96 per cent of all Vestas shareholders are located in Denmark, it seems a significant amount of them are private investors.

In fact, with recent analysis it is even possible to see where the investors live. Studies made earlier this year show a significant concentration of investors around Vestas’ facilities.

This doesn’t come as a surprise for Senior Specialist Lars Villadsen in Group Communications – Investor Relations.

“It is actually more or less the picture everywhere,” he says. “In the US, where I am located, we have always had a relatively high proportion of shareholders in areas where wind turbines are installed. Templeton, with offices in California, used to be a very large shareholder in Vestas. And more recently we have seen Marsico and Thornburg, both headquartered close to our factories in Colorado, hold large positions of Vestas shares. Outside the US, we see an increasing interest in Vestas among Asian investors as a consequence of the very large Chinese wind market.”

Vestas’ shareholder base is very fragmented both in terms of geography and investor type. Only two investors hold more than 5 per cent of the shares, and the vast majority of investors are individuals owning shares directly or via investment or pension funds. Lars Villadsen likes to see the Vestas shareholders as local ‘Vestas Ambassadors’.

“It’s not at all unimportant to have shareholders locally, around the world,” he says. “Vestas chose to work globally, and by having our owners close to our factories and projects, we are more likely to get the local support we need.”

Lars Villadsen spends a lot of time talking to investors, sharing Vestas’ long-term strategy and goals.

“We are working on the long haul. By telling investors about our long-term strategy and how we want to achieve our goals, we also try to attract the kind of people who are not in the game for the quick fix, so to speak,” says Villadsen. “This can sometimes be a challenge when communicating to an investor community with a very short-term focus.”

But it seems to be worth the effort. Recently, The European IR magazine did a study showing that the European institutional investors (banks, pension funds, etc.) rank Vestas’ IR efforts (i.e. talking to shareholders, answering questions, responding in a timely manner and so on) to be the best in Europe among companies working with ‘Alternative Energy’. Furthermore, they placed Vestas 28 in the overall charts – surpassing companies like Siemens, GlaxoSmithKline and Volkswagen.