Windflow dream fades as shares plunge

Windflow Technology - the darling of Helen Clark and the Greens -  seeks more capital, ceases manufacturing and looks offshore.

Windflow Technology (NZX: WTL) has abandoned its local manufacturing plans, its share price has plunged to 50c, and it wants more money from shareholders.

From a high of $3.75 in late 2007, a series of increasingly disappointing reports about installation problems and cost overruns has seen a collapse in the fortunes of the company.

After building more than 100 turbines at the Mandeville Street, Christchurch facility the engineering assembly team has been made redundant.

The company’s latest newsletter said that Windflow will now focus on international licencing for its intellectual property as the best way to realise shareholder value. If the company can attract an overseas partner, manufacturing will move offshore.

This marks a departure from the Windlfow modus operandi that attracted many of its green-leaning shareholders and made it the darling of politicians like Jeanette Fitzsimons and Helen Clark.

Inventor and managing director Geoff Henderson was determined to establish a Kiwi-owned and operated employer.

But the latest message to shareholders points out that the market for wind turbines in New Zealand is nearly exhausted in terms of availability and suitability of sites.

“Wind farm activity overall is stagnant and decreasing with several very large farms still in the consenting process. Those that are consented, are not being built as overall electricity demand is down.”

Windflow is now promoting itself in the UK while still working towards securing orders in New Zealand in discussions with cornerstone shareholder Mighty River Power regarding the consented Long Gully site with potential for 25 turbines.

The proposed Mt Cass wind farm in north Canterbury could take around 70 Windflow turbines but depends on an Environment Court hearing at the end of June.