September 27, 2019 / 8:25 AM / 2 months ago

Wind turbine maker Vestas cuts 600 staff in Denmark and Germany

FILE PHOTO: Workers use tools to smooth out a blade for a wind-turbine at the Vestas Wind Technology company's factory, located in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin September 14, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Wind turbine maker Vestas (VWS.CO) said on Friday it would lay off 590 people at blade factories in Germany and Denmark to rein in costs and cope with a squeeze on prices as state subsidies fall.

Vestas said it would halve it workforce at its factory in Lauchhammer, Germany by cutting 500 jobs, while about 90 workers, paid by the hour, would be laid off in Lem, Denmark.

“Today’s very competitive industry and the fast-moving energy transition means we must introduce new products and solutions where and when the market requires them,” Chief Operating Officer Jean-Marc Lechene said in a statement.

The announcement comes a day after the firm’s main rival Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC) said it would lay off up to 600 staff in Denmark as it grapples with falling prices for its products.

Vestas said it would be investing in other blade types driven by demand for its new EnVentus platform, which is built on a modular design to enable more customized turbines to be produced without expanding the number of components.

Vestas is seeking to move to more scalable manufacturing to ensure mass production of wind turbines stays profitable at a time of lower prices for turbines and rising costs due to the U.S.-China trade war.

Governments from Europe to Latin America have been reducing subsidies offered for wind power supply contracts.

The company is also gearing up for its busiest period on record as demand for renewable power sources grows in tandem with global efforts to combat climate change.

Vestas has manufacturing operations in Denmark, Germany, the United States, Brazil, India and China. It employs more than 24,500 people around the world.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Edmund Blair

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