* CEO Krogsgaard to be replaced by COO Blanco
* Nordex cut 2018 sales, profit targets in February
* Shares up 4.8 pct (Adds context on new CEO, shares)
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, March 17 (Reuters) - Nordex Chief Executive Lars Bondo Krogsgaard will step down at the end of March, taking responsibility for a loss of confidence among investors after the wind turbine maker slashed its financial targets last month.
Krogsgaard will be replaced by deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer Jose Luis Blanco, a 20-year veteran of the wind power industry who was CEO of Spain’s Acciona Wind Power before it was bought by Nordex in late 2015.
The move will tighten Acciona’s grip on Nordex, already its biggest shareholder with a 29.9 percent stake, just short of the 30 percent that would trigger a mandatory takeover offer under German law.
Shares in Nordex turned positive on the news and were up 4.8 percent at the top of Frankfurt’s technology index at 1613 GMT, with investors welcoming the change at the top of the world’s sixth-largest wind turbine maker.
Weaker expectations for business in Brazil, India and South Africa caused Nordex to significantly lower its sales and profit outlook for 2018. It said in February it expected revenues of 3.4 billion to 3.6 billion euros ($3.7-3.9 billion), down from a previous forecast of 4.2 billion to 4.5 billion.
“Our credibility has suffered as a consequence of the outlook, and this follows a period where our handling of communication matters has been criticised,” Krogsgaard, Nordex’s CEO since June 2015, said in a statement.
“This is, ultimately, my responsibility.”
The company’s shares went into a tailspin after the announcement in February and lost a third of their value in subsequent days. ($1 = 0.9316 euros) (Editing by David Clarke)