After a 12-year business relationship with the city of Pueblo, Denmark-based wind turbine company Vestas is on its way out.
Vestas announced Thursday it has signed an agreement to sell its tower-manufacturing facility in Pueblo to CS Wind, a South Korean wind tower manufacturing company with facilities in Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Turkey.
Financial details of the acquisition agreement, which has been signed but is pending regulatory approval, have not been publicly disclosed.
“This is a continuation of moving away from tower manufacturing facilities and instead working closely with suppliers like CS Wind who are tower manufacturing experts … while we focus our attention and energy on other areas of our business,” said Chante Condit-Pottol, head of external communications for Vestas North America.
Condit-Pottol said there will likely be a six- to eight-week transition period with CS Wind likely taking over the Pueblo site sometime in August.
“There will be some additional details and some of those regulatory approvals over the next four to eight weeks and then during that time we have a service-type agreement with CS Wind where we’ll be helping to transition their ownership to maintain the business readiness and the operational capacity,” Condit-Pottol said.
“I think we’re targeting roughly two months … but that specific date is kind of subject to how these regulatory approvals go over the next few weeks. We want to ensure a seamless transition.”
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How the deal will impact Pueblo
Vestas currently has about 500 employees in Pueblo after downsizing its Colorado labor force in February, when 120 employees in Pueblo, 50 in Windsor and 280 in Brighton were laid off.
Vestas’ other Colorado properties will not be impacted by the acquisition and there is no anticipated reduction in work force when the Pueblo site changes ownership.
“The intention is to transfer those employees from Vestas to CS Wind, or give them the option to transfer over to CS Wind,” Condit-Pottol said. “And then CS Wind intends to grow the factory.”
The Pueblo site will be CS Wind’s entry into the U.S. market. The company, founded in 2003, manufactures towers for onshore and offshore wind which are delivered to major markets across the globe.
According to a Vestas statement, CS Wind has more than 2,700 employees worldwide. Its acquisition of the Pueblo facility will bring that number to more than 3,300.
The Pueblo site’s change of ownership could lead to expansion.
CS Wind will expand offerings to include manufacturing of towers to other wind turbine manufacturers through a multi-brand strategy, according to Vestas’ statement, and will continue ongoing Vestas investments and initiatives to reduce CO2-emissions.
CS Wind will be able to sell towers to other equipment manufacturers beyond Vestas, which should allow the company to grow its output capacity and customer base.
“And as that need grows, subsequent employment rates could grow as well,” Condit-Pottol said.
Jeff Shaw, executive director for Pueblo Economic Development Corporation, said the acquisition, overall, is positive for Pueblo.
“As I understand it, this sale solidifies for the long-term … that operations will be as strong, if not stronger, than they were for the last decade,” Shaw said.
“The business model (CS Wind) is putting in place, we are hopeful and optimistic it will lead to a growth in employees. We stand ready to help in any way possible to help them expand in the future if they ever so choose, and my understanding of all of it seems very positive for the community.”
Vestas came to Pueblo in 2009 and built what was then a $240 million facility and the largest wind tower manufacturing business in the world.
The relationship between Pueblo and Vestas has benefitted both parties over the past decade-plus.
“It has played out really well,” Shaw said.
“Vestas, when we first worked with them on their plans to stand up the tower facility …they talked about how well they planned on working inside the community and they certainly outperformed that. They’ve been very active in Pueblo and I think they’re going to remain active in Pueblo.”
Condit-Pottol said in the past 12 years, Pueblo has emerged as an example in Colorado and in the U.S., of a “town and area that has really embraced transitioning to renewable energy and that strong partnership between renewable energy and manufacturing and industrialization.
“So it’s been a really great journey with them in building up the local supply chain, working with the community and living in the community with our employees,” Condit-Pottol said.
“It has been really wonderful. And while this transition is changing ownership hands, Vestas is deeply committed to Colorado, to the U.S., to the Pueblo community and intends to continue to grow that relationship.”
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