Nordex to decide on bringing back long-dormant US wind turbine plant this year

Illustration shows Nordex logo
Miniatures of windmill and electric pole are seen in front of Nordex logo in this illustration taken January 17, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

FRANKFURT, March 31 (Reuters) - German wind turbine maker Nordex (NDXG.DE) will decide this year whether to bring back online its mothballed production site in West Branch, Iowa, hoping for a pickup in U.S. demand following the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act.

"It's a very good ... plant that, with minimum capital expenditure, can be brought to life again," Nordex CEO Jose Luis Blanco told Reuters. "The question for us is not if, it's going be when."

Blanco said he wanted to see "real demand signals" before the plant - which was mothballed a decade ago and passed to Nordex with its 2016 acquisition of Acciona Wind Power - would be restarted.

Costs to restart the facility, with an annual production capacity of around 1.5 gigawatts, are already baked into Nordex's planned 200 million euro ($218 million) 2023 capex, Blanco said.

Demand for wind and solar power in the United States, the world's second-largest renewables market, is expected to increase due to more favourable clean tech legislation in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Blanco spoke following the release of Nordex's final annual results and 2023 outlook, which forecasts sales of 5.6 billion to 6.1 billion euros and a core profit margin of -2.0 to +3.0%.

Shares in Nordex, which like its competitors has been hit by high inflation, raw material costs and supply chain problems triggered by the Ukraine war, were down 3.8%.

Blanco said the group was considering temporarily shifting some production to "best-cost countries", adding that the group's global footprint included India and China.

"We will try to compensate a little bit for this high inflation, producing slightly more in other geographies that are not suffering from that inflation."

($1 = 0.9190 euros)

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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