Vestas intensifies cost saving plan and announces further workforce reductions

Global Senior Vice President of People & Culture Roald Steen Jakobsen says the further reduction in the workforce demonstrates Vestas is in full control of the cost reduction plan.

“Vestas is currently three months ahead of  schedule  in regards to employee reductions in the organisation and being able to intensify this plan in order to increase our cost savings target proves that Vestas is in full control and able to take the necessary action to secure profitability also in 2013,” he says.

Vestas had previously announced the workforce would be reduced by 2.335 by the end of 2012, these reductions are ahead of schedule and to reach that number 1.100 employees will be made redundant by the end of September 2012. Further employees will then be made redundant before the end of the year bringing the total number of employees down to around 19.000 by the end of 2012.

CEO Ditlev Engel says Vestas is intensifying earlier cost reduction plans in order to prepare for a challenging 2013.

“The further reduction in the workforce is part of the continued cost saving plans which Vestas has been working on since November 2011,” he says. “It is always unfortunate to have to say goodbye to good colleagues in Vestas, but we have said before that 2012 will be tough and 2013 will be even tougher for Vestas, and in order to reach our target of making 2013 profitable, it is unfortunately a necessity.”
“In order to determine which job functions will be affected by the reduction, Vestas is prioritising to maintain functions which are directly revenue or business generating,” finishes Roald Steen Jakobsen.
The workforce reductions will primarily affect salaried employees and it is expected that around 55% of the reductions will happen in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, around 25% in Asia Pacific and around 20% in the Americas. Details about the exact split on market level will be communicated as soon as negotiations with the unions have been finalised.
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2012 outlook for EBIT, revenue and cash flow retained. Preparation for 2013 intensifies with additional redundancies of 1,400 employees.

Vestas generated revenue of EUR 1,611m in the second quarter of 2012 – an increase of 15 per cent to the year-earlier period. EBIT before special items declined by 48 per cent to EUR 40m. The EBIT margin before special items was 2.5 per cent – an improvement of 21 percentage points compared to the loss-making first quarter 2012. EBIT after special items was EUR 18m. The free cash flow decreased to EUR (338)m from EUR (63)m in the second quarter of 2011.For the first half of 2012, the free cash flow was EUR 139m lower than in the first half of 2011. The net debt at 30 June 2012 amounted to EUR 1,147m; an increase of 7 per cent compared to the end of June 2011. The intake of firm and unconditional orders was 945 MW in the second quarter of 2012 and the value of the backlog of firm and unconditional orders amounted to EUR 9.6bn at 30 June 2012. In addition to the turbine order backlog, Vestas had service agreements with contractual future revenue of EUR 4.8bn at the end of June 2012, and thus the value of the combined backlog of turbine orders and service agreements stood at EUR 14.4bn – the highest level ever recorded. The high safety level at Vestas’ workplaces was maintained and the share of renewable energy increased to 52 per cent.

Vestas retains its full-year guidance of an EBIT margin of 0-4 per cent before special items, revenue of EUR 6,500-8,000m and a positive free cash flow. However among other things due to a lower order intake in the first half year and delays of grid connections in China, shipments are now expected to amount to approx 6.3 GW against the previous expectation of approx 7 GW. Investments are now expected to be EUR 450m against the previous guidance of EUR 550m. Due to a lower cost base, expectations for the service EBIT margin before allocation of Group costs are raised to 17 per cent.

In order to make sure that Vestas will be profitable with an expected manufacturing level (shipments) of around 5 GW in 2013, Vestas now intensifies the adjustment of the organisation. Consequently, Vestas now expects the number of employees at year-end to be around 19,000 against the previous guidance of 20,400. This will contribute to a fixed cost reduction of more than EUR 250m with full effect as from the end of 2012. As a consequence of the intensified redundancy plan, special items are now expected to amount to EUR 75-125m.

Vestas has initiated a process to identify outsourcing opportunities and also seeks to involve its suppliers in larger parts of the supply chain than is the case today. The intention is to further increase the manufacturing flexibility and to reduce Vestas’ capital requirement.

Vestas expects to realise savings of approx EUR 30m (EBIT impact) in 2012 related to the ongoing product cost-out program. Savings will be realised late in the year and Vestas expects the savings to increase significantly in 2013.

As announced on 31 July 2012, Vestas has agreed with its lenders to defer the half-year 2012 testing of the financial covenants contained in Vestas’ banking facilities. Furthermore, the lenders have allowed drawings, which in the opinion of Vestas are sufficient for the continued operation of Vestas on usual terms as the company expects to test on normal terms in the future.

For analysts, investors and the media, an information meeting will be held today,

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 at 10 a.m. CEST (9 a.m. BST) at Vestas’ Headquarters at Hedeager 44, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark.

The information meeting will be held in English and webcast live with simultaneous interpretation into Danish via

The meeting may be attended electronically, and questions may be asked through a conference call.