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Vestas drops Sheerness plant due to lack of orders

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems has dropped plans to build a factory at the UK port of Sheerness due to a lack of orders for the wind turbines that were to be build there, the company said on Friday.

Vestas said in a statement it would not proceed with plans to build the factory, which would have created 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in the area.

“Such a factory is conditional on concrete orders in our order book and we have not announced any signed orders at this point,” a Vestas spokesman said. “We want a good pipeline of orders before we advance further and we do not have that at this point in time.”

He added the company would continue to look at different options and would keep all possibilities open.

Vestas in May signed an option agreement on 70 hectares of land at the port in Kent in southeast England, with the aim of building a factory that could support the construction of its recently launched V164-7.0 megawatt turbines.

It said the agreement was subject to a satisfactory order intake for the turbines that would be built there.

“Vestas’ strong commitment to the development of both the offshore and onshore wind industries is not affected by this decision,” Vestas Chief Sales Officer Juan Araluce said in a statement.

He added Vestas would remain active across the two markets in the UK, which continued to show considerable potential.

“We are extremely disappointed that we have been unable to conclude the agreement with Vestas,” said Peel Ports Chief Executive Mark Whitworth in the statement.

“We remain fully committed to the strategy outlined for the Port of Sheerness of attracting major renewables manufacturers,” Whitworth added.

Shares in Vestas traded down 2.8 percent at 30.76 Danish crowns at 1029 GMT, underperforming the Copenhagen stock exchange’s benchmark index which traded down 0.2 percent. (Reporting by Mette Fraende; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)