Handelsblatt Exclusive

Senvion Looks to the Future

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Senvion needs a makeover to attract new investors and keep up with the global competition.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Senvion’s revenues risk dipping below €2 billion in 2017 due to a drop in orders.
    • Under CEO Jürgen Geissinger, the wind-turbine manufacturer has doubled its R&D spending, expanded to new markets and expedited the introduction of turbines for wind-poor regions.
    • Mr. Geissinger expects Senvion to experience strong growth in 2018.
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    Audio

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Juergen Geissinger, CEO Senvion
The turbulent turbine market isn't phasing Jürgen Geissinger. Source: Johannes Arlt for Handelsblatt

Jürgen Geissinger’s reputation precedes him.

During his 15 years as the chief executive of Schaeffler, Mr. Geissinger quintupled the revenue of the family-owned auto parts supplier and bought rival Continental, which is three times Schaeffler’s size.

It was a legendary and extremely risky move that nearly buried Schaeffler in debt, but the auto parts supplier has managed to make the acquisition work by significantly reducing its stake.

A 57-year-old engineer, Mr. Geissinger now stands at the helm of Germany’s fourth-largest wind turbine manufacturer, Senvion, another company in need of an extreme makeover.

Faced with a drop in orders, the revenue of the Hamburg-based firm threatens to dip below €2 billion ($2.1 billion) in 2017.

“I believe that in the future we will see a completely different Senvion.”

Jürgen Geissinger, CEO, Senvion

“We of course first have to get through a dry spell,” Mr. Geissinger, who took over the reins at Senvion in December 2015, told Handelsblatt.

The chief executive blames the company’s previous owner, Suzlon, for not investing enough in the wind-turbine manufacturer and blocking it from expanding outside of Europe, Australia and Canada.

Mr. Geissinger has already doubled Senvion’s research and development budget to €80 million under its new owner, Centerbridge, and has expanded the company to Argentina, Chile, India, Norway and the United States.

Senvion has also expedited the introduction of turbines for wind-poor regions by a full year, Mr. Geissinger said, to help jump start growth in 2018.

“In 2017, we will be really strongly positioned as a company again,” the chief executive said. “We know that we will see really good growth in 2018.”

Mr. Geissinger also plans to apply the expertize he gained at Schaeffler to slash costs at Senvion and make the wind turbine producer more agile and efficient.

When investors realize everything that Senvion has in store for 2018, they will recognize the company as a hidden champion, Mr. Geissinger said.

“I believe that in the future we will see a completely different Senvion,” the chief executive said. “We will be enormously successful in the market.”

 

Franz Hubik covers the energy market for Handelsblatt. To contact the author: hubik@handelsblatt.com

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