Bloomberg News

Enercon Owner Seeks to Block Takeovers of Pioneer Turbine Maker

May 02, 2012

The founder of Enercon GmbH, the first company to boost wind-turbine reliability by ditching gearboxes, plans to block takeover bids by shifting his stock to a trust.

Aloys Wobben, an engineer who created Enercon in 1984 and built it into the fifth-largest turbine maker, will place his stock into the Aloys Wobben Foundation in the “near future,” the Aurich, Germany-based company said in a statement on its website. Enercon has a 7.9 percent market share, said BTM Consult, a researcher that’s part of Navigant Consulting Inc.

“Several of the large industrial groups were interested in the company,” Eduardo Tabbush, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said by e-mail. “This move removes that possibility.” Enercon is attractive because of its technology and consolidation of the wind industry this year, Tabbush said.

The wind industry Wobben entered as a graduate engineer has been buffeted by Europe’s economic crisis as countries reduce renewable-energy incentives. Competition from Chinese companies such as Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. (2208) and Sinovel Wind Group Co. eager to enter Europe also pushed prices lower.

“Securing the future of my company and its employees is something that is very near and dear to me,” Wobben said in the statement. Enercon, with factories in Sweden, Brazil and Canada, didn’t immediately reply to e-mails and calls seeking comment.

The company says it was the first to develop direct-drive machines without gearboxes, reducing maintenance. It built the most new machines in Germany last year, making about 59.5 percent of the total, the German Wind Energy Institute says.

Speculation emerged last month that Sinovel and Goldwind were studying a bid for Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s biggest turbine maker, which fell to its lowest in nine years today in Copenhagen after a first-quarter loss almost doubled.

A trust separates a company from its owner, making it harder for heirs to sell, law firm Taylor Wessing LLP said.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Sally Bakewell in London at Sbakewell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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