March 1, 2017 / 10:04 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Nordex to increase R&D spending, cut job after sales warning

* Nordex to hike R&D spending by 30 mln euros to 150 mln

* CEO says job cuts could be among cost cutting measures

* Comments come after Nordex slashed 2018 revenue aim

* 2016 revenues up 40 pct at 3.4 bln euros

* Shares rise 5.5 pct to top of TecDAX (Adds CEO comments, further details, share price)

By Vera Eckert

FRANKFURT, March 1 (Reuters) - Germany’s Nordex, the world’s fifth-biggest wind turbine maker, said it would raise spending on development by a quarter and could cut jobs after price pressure and project delays forced it to slash its 2018 revenue guidance.

Nordex said last week it expected revenue between 3.4 billion and 3.6 billion euros ($3.6-3.8 billion) next year, compared with previous guidance for 4.2 billion to 4.5 billion, sending its shares down by nearly a third within a few days.

On Wednesday Chief Executive Lars Bondo Krogsgaard cited price pressure in emerging markets that was significantly higher than expected and project delays at its recently purchased Acciona Wind Power (AWP) in Spain for the guidance cut.

“We will study structural costs in general in order to improve the margin quality. Jobs are among the possible areas for action,” Krogsgaard told journalists at a news conference on Wednesday after Nordex published 2016 financial results.

In 2016, Nordex’s revenue jumped 40 percent to 3.4 billion euros, reaching the top of Nordex’s own expectations. Operating earnings grew 57 percent to 285.5 million euros and net profit rose 82 percent to 95.4 million.

The group will also raise spending on research and development by a quarter to 150 million euros this year to help build competitive advantages.

Nordex shares were 3.8 percent higher at 14.41 euros by 1002 GMT on Wednesday, leading the German TecDAX index.

Krogsgaard said Nordex was in a “superb starting position” to benefit from future market growth overseas.

Wind turbine makers have benefited from a new focus on renewables, encouraged by the Paris Agreement on climate change in December 2015 and a five-year extension of a U.S. Production Tax Credit, a key driver for that market.

Market leader Vestas also enjoyed a strong end to last year, but warned last month that rapid growth in demand in the industry could be coming to an end and also said its revenue could fall from 2016’s record level.

Nordex bought AWP from Spain’s Acciona for 785 million euros last year to get a better foothold in markets outside Europe. But the company has been dogged by project delays in Spain, Brazil and South Africa as well as slow progress in India.

Krogsgaard said South African state-controlled Eskom had not signed power purchase agreements for projects that Nordex had counted on.

“That is business at hand that we can’t complete financially,” he said.

In Brazil, capacity reserve auctions were cancelled and it is uncertain whether they will be re-launched, he said, adding that Nordex would shrink its business in the South American country in 2018.

$1 = 0.9489 euros Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Susan Thomas

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