* Now sees 2013 sales of 1.3-1.4 bln euros vs 1.2-1.3 bln
* First-half sales up 57 percent to 661 mln euros
* Shares gain 6.9 percent (Recasts, adds CEO, details on Europe, updates shares)
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Germany’s Nordex raised its forecasts for sales and profit margins this year as a new generation of products helps the wind turbine maker outperform the European market.
The wind power industry is emerging gradually from an overcapacity crisis and falling state subsidies as European governments bank on wind power to reach renewable targets for 2020. Wind power is much cheaper than its solar counterpart.
Europe accounted for 93 percent of Nordex’s first-half sales, which rose 57 percent to 661 million euros ($877 million), helped by what it said was strong demand for its N117/2400 turbines.
“At the moment we’re able to grow faster than the market in Germany, Scandinavia and Britain,” Chief Executive Juergen Zeschky told journalists during a conference call on Thursday.
The European market, which accounted for 28 percent of the global sector last year, is expected to decline by more than a fifth this year in size, according to industry group GWEC.
Nordex said it now expects full-year sales of 1.3-1.4 billion euros and a margin for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 2.5-3.5 percent.
It had previously guided for sales of 1.2-1.3 billion euros and an EBIT margin of 2.0-3.0 percent.
“The figures show that wind turbine shares are doing way better than solar stocks. They can decouple from the crisis that has hit some parts of the renewable energy sector,” a trader said, adding investors had welcomed the company’s move to scale back on operations in China and the United States.
Shares in the group rose 6.9 percent to 8.047 euros by 0714 GMT, extending their 151 percent gain so far this year, putting them at the top of Frankfurt’s technology index, and following similar moves by Denmark’s Vestas and Spain’s Gamesa .
Nordex said in June it would stop production of turbine housings at its plant in Jonesboro, Arkansas, citing uncertainty in the U.S. market and global overcapacity. Last year, it also cut 130 jobs at its Chinese rotor blade operation.
Nordex is partly held by Germany’s Klatten family, which owns 24.99 percent of the company through funds. Susanne Klatten is Germany’s richest woman and is also a major shareholder in carmaker BMW.
$1 = 0.7538 euros Additional reporting by Daniela Pegna; Editing by David Cowell