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Vestas Profits Substantially Lower Than Expectations, Chairman Bent Erik Carlsen Resigns

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AP File
AP File

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- The chairman of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world's biggest maker of wind turbines in terms of revenue, will step down after the company said Wednesday that its 2011 profits were substantially below target.

Bent Erik Carlsen said in a live television interview that investors wanted change, forcing him and Deputy Chairman Torsten Erik Rasmussen to decline a re-election bid at next month's shareholder meeting.

The pair have been criticized for poor financials and a loss of market share to Chinese competitors. Last month, the company announced it would lay off 2,335 people.

CFO Henrik Noerremark resigned Tuesday after the company twice slashed its 2012 forecasts. In a statement, the company said another board member, Freddy Frandsen, would also forego re-election, though no reason was given for his departure.

Vestas said that its 2011 results were "substantially lower than original expectations," causing its shares to drop more than 13 percent to 58 kroner ($10.27) in Copenhagen.

Revenue was euro5.8 billion ($7.63 billion), which Vestas said was euro1.2 billion ($1.97 billion) lower than the original forecast and 16 percent lower than in 2010.

Sluggish sales have already forced the company to slash its 2012 forecasts twice. It has also abandoned its targets for 2015 sales of euro15 billion ($19.1 million) and profit margin of 15 percent.

In January, the Danish turbine maker announced it would lay off 2,335 people worldwide and that 1,600 U.S. jobs would be at risk if Congress failed to extend tax breaks for renewable energy.

The company has invested more than $1 billion in four facilities in Colorado. Its U.S. operations are headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

Vestas has also faced tough competition from China and fallout from a global recession that slowed investments in wind power.

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