A Diversification Too Far?


January 20, 2012

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Diversity. Often seen as an inherently good thing. Businesses with diverse portfolios can often hedge against losses and de-risk core operations.

Maybe that’s what was on Gamesa’s mind following its announcement this week to take a 20% stake in an electrical vehicle firm. Sounds good for Gamesa – sounds even better for N2S, the start-up firm in question.

Gamesa explains that the decision was made to naturally complement the charging station equipment it manufacturers as well as enhancing its investments across other green technologies.

In a turbulent time for European turbine manufacturers (see Vestas’ latest financial report for details) under pressure from Chinese competitors, and an as yet uncertain climate in the US, diversifying into products and services away from turbines seems like a sensible option.

And whilst it’s a fair bet that the European turbine makers will live to sell another year, it’s likely that they’ll be selling to a larger, but much more competitive market.

But is it the right investment? Sales of electric vehicles are in a state of decline and a number of debates surround the long-term viability and true cost of the technology.

And whilst Gamesa can claim it’s making reasonable investments into international emerging markets – something epitomised by its commitment to India – where does that leave Spain? A question that is particularly pertinent given the recent changes in Government.

As we discussed in December, Spain still has a number of issues to address in order to safeguard the future of its renewable energy sector and candidly, it hasn’t got much money in the pot to do it.

Therefore, while the local markets will no doubt applaud Gamesa’s investment, questions remain about whether, for one of the world’s most ambitious turbine manufacturers, it’s a diversification too far?

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