Offshore Wind Firm Orsted Cuts Investment, Targets After Review

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Orsted, the world’s biggest offshore wind farm developer, trimmed its investment and capacity targets on Wednesday and paused dividend payouts as part of a major review.

The Danish company, which last year found itself at the centre of a perfect storm for the offshore wind industry, lowered its target for power generation capacity by the end of the decade to 35-38 gigawatts (GW), from 50 GW previously.

It also said it would reduce capital expenditure in the coming three years by 35 billion Danish crowns ($5.05 billion), pause dividends for 2023-2025 and sell assets worth around 115 billion crowns towards 2030.

The moves come less than a year after Orsted laid out ambitious plans to invest 475 billion Danish crowns to achieve its 2030 goal.

The new plans are broadly in line with expectations among analysts and investors, who had been worried that the renewable energy firm would stick to its ambitious targets and opt to raise new capital.

Orsted said its “business plan is fully financed without any need for raising new equity.”

The company plans to invest 270 billion crowns towards the end of the decade. Of that, 130 billion crowns will be invested over the coming three years to achieve a target of 23 GW of installed power generation capacity by 2026.

Orsted also said its Chairman Thomas Thune Andersen will step down at the upcoming annual shareholder meeting on March 5.

In November, Orsted ousted its finance and operations chiefs after reporting large financial losses on U.S. projects.

As part of efforts to reduce costs, Orsted will also reduce its workforce by 600-800 positions globally.

Orsted was hit hard by rising inflation, higher interest rates and supply chain delays which forced several companies to cancel offshore projects in Britain and the United States.

It halted development of two offshore wind projects in New Jersey in November and said related impairments had surged above $5 billion, more than halving the value of its shares.

“We have prioritised projects within our portfolio and are implementing significant changes in our business, including revising our operating model to reduce risks,” CEO Mads Nipper said in a statement.

Orsted shares have risen by around two-thirds since early November but are still well below their level before the first writedowns were announced. They were 0.3% lower at 0819 GMT.

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Terje Solsvik, Shri Navaratnam and Alexander Smith)

Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
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