Suzlon CEO has no plans to sell stake

By Nichola Groom

SANTA BARBARA, California (Reuters) – Suzlon Energy Ltd Chief Executive Tulsi Tanti has no plans to sell a stake in the Indian wind turbine maker, he said on Thursday.

“There is not any such plan,” Tanti said when asked about market rumors that the company was considering selling a stake to Spain’s Gamesa.

Suzlon, the world’s third-biggest wind turbine maker, is planning to buy the remaining 9 percent stake in Germany’s REpower Systems AG that it does not already own. However Tanti could not say when that would happen.

In an interview at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, Tanti said Suzlon is prepared for the impact of rising commodity prices.

“We can maintain our margins; we can maintain our growth,” Tanti said.

The company will maintain its 10 percent global market share this year, Tanti said, adding that the worldwide wind market would grow about 20 percent in 2011 to 42 gigawatts from 35 GW last year.

Suzlon’s biggest markets by volume include India, China and Brazil, Tanti said. The company is the market leader in India, Brazil and Australia.

In the United States, development of wind projects has slowed as a weak economy has kept power prices low, making wind power less competitive with electricity from cheap natural gas.

This year, wind development is unlikely to top 5 GW, according to Tanti, though he said that could double in 2012 to 10 GW to 12 GW as the economy recovers.

Suzlon’s wind turbine factory in Minnesota is only operating at one-third of its capacity, Tanti said. The company could add 200 jobs there once demand improves.

“We are just waiting for the market to rebound,” Tanti said.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Gerald E. McCormick)