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Siemens Gamesa confident of return to profitability but shares slide

MADRID (Reuters) - Wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa SGREN.MC said its profit margins are set to rebound after a slump exacerbated by the pandemic and its onshore unit should break even in 2022, but its short-term targets disappointed financial markets.

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In its first strategy presentation since Andreas Nauen took over as CEO in June, the German-Spanish company forecast on Thursday that it would achieve an operating margin of 3-5% in the financial year ending September 2021 and 8-10% in financial year 2023, after that metric fell to a negative 6.7% in the third quarter of the current financial year.

Shares in the company fell almost 5% after the forecasts were published, with analysts at Credit Suisse saying they had expected a 6.1% margin for next year, double the lower end of the company’s forecast.

While demand for renewable energy infrastructure has been growing to curb climate change, a shift to competitive auctions for new generation capacity has driven down the price that turbine suppliers can command from wind farm developers, whose budgets are no longer fattened by subsidies.

Siemens Gamesa last month reported a net loss of 466 million euros (417.39 million pounds) for its third quarter, April-June, versus a 21 million euro profit a year earlier.

CEO Nauen said on Thursday that the company would aim to boost profitability partly by introducing new technology - which is often a challenge for manufacturers of a product that can be hard to differentiate from competitors.

This is particularly relevant in the unit that makes more commoditised onshore turbines.

Nauen told reporters on a media call that he expected the onshore unit to break even in 2022 by “selecting the right projects, introducing the new technology, (and would) reduce complexity and improve project execution”.

The company said it expects group revenue of between 10.2 billion euros and 11.2 billion euros in financial 2021, which ends in September 2021.

Shares in Siemens Gamesa have surged more than 40% this year on expectations it will benefit from rising demand for renewable energy but investors are now waiting for the company to deliver on those expectations.

Last month Nauen appointed three new senior executives in a further change of the top management team.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, the industry was already facing high steel costs, partly due to global trade battles. Siemens Gamesa said commodity prices had now “relaxed”.

It said its near-term forecasts assume no second wave of COVID-19, which snarled the global movement of goods and parts and prompted suspension of production in some areas.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Kim Coghill and Susan Fenton

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