Clipper’s woes forced United Tech’s hand-CFO

* United Tech did not mean to buy rest of Clipper so soon

* Plans to expand turbine maker internationally-CFO

By Scott Malone

BOSTON, Oct 20 (BestGrowthStock) – This year’s downturn in
investment in U.S. wind farms had the unexpected effect of
pushing United Technologies Corp (UTX.N: ) into the business
faster than it had planned.

The diversified U.S. manufacturer this week agreed to pay
$223 million to buy the 50.1 percent it did not already own of
Clipper Windpower (CWPR.L: ) to save the wind turbine maker from
a cash crunch.

“This clearly was not the plan when we made the initial
investment back in January,” Greg Hayes, United Tech’s chief
financial officer, told investors during a conference call
after the diversified U.S. manufacturer reported third-quarter
earnings. [ID:nN20268543]

Indeed, back in March United Tech Chief Executive Louis
Chenevert told reporters the Hartford, Connecticut-based
company planned to study Clipper, a Carpinteria,
California-based company that is listed on the London Stock
Exchange, “for the next two years” before deciding on its next
move in the renewable energy space.

The sharp falloff in U.S. wind installations — which were
down 71 percent through the first six months of 2010, according
to the American Wind Energy Association — pushed that time
frame up.

When Clipper management approached United Tech about
needing more money, Hayes said, “the thought of lending money
to Clipper was not nearly as attractive as actually buying the
rest of Clipper and controlling this business.”

To be sure, Clipper is not the only wind turbine supplier
to have felt the downturn’s pinch. When General Electric Co
(GE.N: ) reported quarterly results last week it told investors
that wind turbine sales had fallen sharply.

United Tech’s full backing may leave Clipper better
positioned to compete with deep-pocketed rivals that include
conglomerates GE and Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE: ), as well as
specialists like Denmark’s Vestas (VWS.CO: ).

“It’s been just a U.S. play for the last few years,” Hayes
said. “Step one, after we get our folks there, we have to
expand into the emerging markets, find partners in China,
India, and grow that business.”
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

Clipper’s woes forced United Tech’s hand-CFO