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Vestas Wind posts surprise loss as virus hits supply chain

Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S fell into the red as the coronavirus squeezed its supply chain, the first quarterly loss since 2013.

The world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer posted a 54 million-euro ($59 million) loss before special items, compared with a 95 million-euro profit analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had anticipated.

The company suspended its 2020 guidance last month, but said in its earnings report on Tuesday that the level was still within its grasp. Vestas said that the loss, which was in line with their expectations, came from increased logistics costs and supply chain bottlenecks made worse by the coronavirus.

The Aarhus-based manufacturer said sales rose 29% to 2.2 billion euros in the quarter, up 29% from the same period last year and more than analysts’ estimates. The wind turbine order backlog and service agreements reached a record high of more than 34 billion euros over the period.

Vestas rose more than 3% after declining as much as 2.5% earlier. The stock is down 12% this year.

“Across the company, we have done well to ensure business continuity during the pandemic, but the uncertainty around the full-year impact prevails,” said Chief Executive Officer Henrik Andersen.

Global supply chains for wind turbines have been complicated by the coronavirus as national lockdowns caused factories to shut. Last week, about 11% of global turbine factories were closed, according to BloombergNEF. Most of the closures were in India, but factories in Europe have been running at reduced capacity.