Wind energy major Vestas returns to India

In September 2012, Danish wind power major Vestas decided to “scale down sales effort in the Indian market”, which practically meant it was closing shop in the country.

Almost two years later, it is all set to return, headed by a new Managing Director, Jorn Hammer, who previously steered the company’s Australian operations.

The new Vestsa India is also keen on recruiting – it wants to hire a Head of Construction, Head of Public Affairs and a Business Analyst among others. The company is also in the process of executing an order for 11 machines for a customer in Gujarat.

Sources in the company confirmed to BusinessLine that Vestas was back in India with “a new business plan.” When it was downing shutters in 2012, the company had said that it had to “re-evaluate its current business set-up and approach in India.”

Vestas was one of the earliest wind turbine manufacturers to set up shop in India. It came into India in collaboration with RRB. Vestas-RRB was a well known brand in the mid-1990s and was the second highest selling turbine after NEPC Micon, which had been a joint venture between NEG Micon of Denmark and the NEPC group.

In 1996, NEG was taken over by Vestas in Europe consequent to which the partners of NEPC Micon had to split up. NEG was on its own in India, a subsidiary of Vestas’, even though Vestas was present also through Vestas RRB.

In 2004, the partners in Vestas-RRB decided to part ways. Vestas was on its own and all of NEG’s operations were subsumed by the former. When it quit India, Vestas had about 3,000 MW of standing machines.

The Danish major is coming back to India at a time when the wind market is starting to look up. In 2013-14, the industry added 2,126 MW of wind turbines, exceeding expectations; it surprised everybody by installing 800 MW in March alone.

And only last week, the Finance Minister said in Parliament that the Government would bring back ‘accelerated depreciation’, a tax-saving sop. The industry estimates that in a full year, the “AD market” will be worth about 1,000 MW.