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Orsted must restore investor confidence, says new chair

Published 05/03/2024, 13:24
Updated 05/03/2024, 13:26
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the turbines at Orsted's offshore wind farm near Nysted, Denmark, September 4, 2023. REUTERS/Tom Little/File Photo

By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's Orsted must restore investor confidence, new chair Lene Skole said on Tuesday after a shareholder meeting elected her to oversee the offshore wind power giant's turnaround drive.

She takes the role as the world's largest offshore wind farm developer looks to bounce back from a string of losses and project cancellations.

Late last year, the company scrapped two U.S. offshore wind projects. It announced 28.4 billion Danish crowns ($4.13 billion) in impairments, prompting investors to lop more than 100 billion crowns off Orsted's market value.

"The message was clear. The market lost confidence in us. That was of course why the market value fell by more than the absolute number," Skole told Reuters in an interview.

Following a strategic review of its business, the Copenhagen-based company, which is 51% owned by the Danish state, last month trimmed its investment and capacity targets, paused dividend payouts, and changed its financial and operations chiefs.

"It is really important for us to rebuild that trust. And we can basically only do that by executing the plan that the management has presented. That will be the main focus going forward," she said.

She said the problems arose in the U.S. market due to a combination of external factors and tying up too much capital in projects.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the turbines at Orsted's offshore wind farm near Nysted, Denmark, September 4, 2023. REUTERS/Tom Little/File Photo

Skole, who replaced Thomas Thune Andersen as chair, was promoted to post after being deputy chair since 2015.

($1 = 6.8720 Danish crowns)

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