Vestas posts strong 2011, continues to hire

Vestas is looking strong in North America despite worries radiating from the wind turbine company's headquarters in Denmark.

Vestas is looking strong in North America despite worries radiating from the wind turbine company's headquarters in Denmark.

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas on Tuesday said its Portland-based sales and service division has added 200 jobs since last spring with another 150 job openings across North America as it reached record-high levels of construction activity in 2011.

Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc., the Portland-based North American headquarters for the Danish wind turbine brand, said it sold 812 wind turbines with a capacity of 1,617 megawatts in 2011 — enough to power 500,000 homes. That’s down from 1,883 megawatts in 2010.

The company installed 30 new wind farms in 2011 and plans to add another 20 this year.

Vestas didn’t release specific North American financial data, such as revenue.

“We have had very strong sales,” Martha Wyrsch, president of Vestas’ North American sales and service operations, told the Portland Business Journal this week. “Customers continue to come back to us.”

The Portland-based North American sales and service division currently employs more than 800, including 400 in Portland, and has 150 current openings, mostly in service, construction and technology. Of those openings, 40 are in Portland.

When including the company's Colorado-based manufacturing operations — a separate division from the Portland business — Vestas has filled 700 positions in North America over the last eight months.

The strong North American performance comes as Vestas’ Danish headquarters has been under a barrage of negative developments.

Last week the company reduced its revenue forecast for the second time in two months. Its shares have fallen almost 90 percent from their high in 2008 after a series of earnings misses including the latest announced on Oct. 30, leading to questions about the status of the company’s management team.

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