Vestas Wind Systems plans for layoffs

After a disappointing third quarter financial performance, Vestas Wind Systems A/S is scaling back its revenue forecasts and planning layoffs.

But the wind company's North American operation, based in Portland, is getting ready to move into a new headquarters building and staffing up for a busy 2012.

According to a report from Dow Jones News Wire, anticipated weak growth will keep Vestas from achieving the Triple 15 plan announced in July. The plan called for sales of 15 billion euros and a profit margin of 15 percent before interest and taxes by 2015.

Vestas also announced plans to cut costs by at least 150 million euros, or $203 million, which is expected to result in layoffs globally. It will implement a new organization on Feb. 8, Dow Jones reported.

Vestas said in its third-quarter report that the potential expiration of the U.S. Production Tax Credit, currently scheduled to sunset at the end of 2012, would make 2013 a very challenging year for the company. (Oregon's Democratic U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer has teamed with Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., to propose an extension of the credit.)

But hiring activity in North America, where the company employs 3,300 people, paints a very different Vestas picture than that of the parent company's financial results.

Aili Jokela, spokeswoman for Vestas' North American division, said she could not comment on layoffs but said that the company has hired 800 people in the U.S. and Canada this year, including replacements of people who have left the company.

Further, she said Vestas is hiring across multiple operations in North America with 500 jobs currently open, including 50 in Portland.

"We're going to be very careful in circumspect in how we hire to match our business," Jokela said. "But 2012 is going to be a very busy year for us."

In its third-quarter report, Vestas said sales in the Americas contributed 35 percent to total wind turbine sales in the first nine months of 2011, up from 25 percent during the same period of 2010. Vestas had global revenue of about 3.8 million euros or about $5 billion during the first nine months of the year.

Source: Sustainable Business Oregon