Vestas spent six to gain one

The company's share price plunged to this year's hitherto lowest level following its Romanian asset sale that revealed the core business margin to be slimmer than prior projections.
Photo: Martin Lehmann
Photo: Martin Lehmann

You have to spend money to make money, goes the classic truism.

Well, then again – Vestas has managed to turn the idiom on its head in the last 24 hours. The company announced its majority stake sale in a Romanian project developer for EUR 136 million, prompting shareholders to shave DKK 6.4 billion (EUR 860 million) off the wind turbine maker's equity.

Vestas' stock value fell 6.22 percent to DKK 487.3 per share at ended trading hours Thursday – a record low for 2019.

One, however, would be mistaken to think the equity beating was due to investors' firm veneration for dubious Romanian project developers. Rather, the devaluation can be ascribed to the same stock exchange notice informing the market that the sale won't change the company's full-year EBIT guidance for 2019.

To put it in a slightly different way, the sale has entered Vestas' book and factors into its 2019 forecast, which upon last week's H1 interim report presentation downgraded the earnings margin from 8-10 percent to 8-9 percent.

That a large chunk of this profit is sourced from old wind project sales – irrespective of the fact that these were no golden geese – doesn't bode well for the breadth of this year's margins off conventional wind turbine sales. And that's ignoring the longer-term earnings outlook, as the income from the Romanian divestment is, naturally, not going to be a reoccurring post.

"This is a shot of vitamins in regard to hitting 2019's earnings guidance. They are counting on operating earnings around EUR 1 billion, and now they're adding EUR 100 million with one stroke of the pen," Sydbank Senior Equity Analyst Jacob Pedersen tells Danish news agency Ritzau Finans.

"The bottom line is that the underlying earnings from wind turbine production and sales appear to have a profit margin of approximately 1 percent point poorer than what I had expected when I awoke this morning."

English Edit: Daniel Frank Christensen

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