Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, the world's second-largest wind turbine manufacturer, posted a €165 million ($178 million) net loss for the January to March quarter, with the coronavirus pandemic weighing on its results. The loss compared to a €49 million profit in the same period during 2019.

Revenue in the company’s fiscal Q2 results was down 8 percent year-on-year to €2.2 billion; it was down 9.6 percent for H1 2020.

SGRE said €56 million of additional costs could be traced directly to the impact of coronavirus courtesy of project delays, logistics and manufacturing shutdowns.

“There is a significant amount of indirect costs triggered by inefficiencies and other [factors]...the high volatility, for instance, of financial markets,” Markus Tacke, CEO of Siemens Gamesa, said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

Market leader Vestas posted its own loss on Tuesday with the coronavirus crisis again cited as the chief cause. Restrictions on travel are causing problems for both companies, from the boardroom level through to frontline engineering.

Working around coronavirus restrictions, factory closures

“At the end of March, we wanted to close a contract in Italy; it was virtually impossible to get the signature on the paper to do financial close because of the situation at the time," Tacke said. 

"I planned to go to India, also at the end of March, to negotiate and finalize larger contracts, and India was locked down. Access for foreigners was not allowed anymore,” he said, adding that it was assumed these deals would still happen but that close would have to wait until later in the year.

For wind construction specialists and service engineers, the challenge is about working around quarantine restrictions, with Norway as one painful example for SGRE.

The company has already taken a €150 million hit from project delays there created by an early winter. Now Norway is imposing a 14-day mandatory quarantine for travelers arriving in the country, regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms.

SGRE's industry-leading offshore operations are reliant on a regime of testing for all employees. Crews are tested, then quarantined while the results come back. If all the tests come back negative, the entire crew will be sent offshore for a period of four weeks, instead of the usual two-week shift pattern, in an attempt to reduce the potential for infections.

Siemens Gamesa, like its competitors, has had to contend with the closure of manufacturing facilities in Spain, the U.K. and elsewhere. As it stands, facilities currently are only closed in Mexico and India, the latter having prolonged its extensive lockdown for another two weeks.

So far, 110 of SGRE's employees have tested positive for COVID-19, with two sent to intensive care. Both have now recovered, the company said.

Senvion deal and offshore

Siemens Gamesa’s acquisition of Senvion’s European service business and Portuguese blade manufacturing facility have both now reached financial close. The rolling 12-month tally for service contracts is up 75 percent compared to where it was at this time in 2019.

The addition of the deal for the Ria blade facility, completed at the end of April, comes during a global supply chain crunch around blades. With Wood Mackenzie now expecting a reduction of 4.9 gigawatts in total installations in 2020, that pinch could be slightly lessened.

Siemens Gamesa’s offshore business continued to rack up orders last quarter, including more than 1.1 gigawatts from Ørsted for the German projects Borkum Riffgrund 3 (900 megawatts) and Gode Wind 3 (242 megawatts). SGRE has firm orders totaling 5.5 gigawatts for offshore turbines and a conditional pipeline of 10.7 gigawatts.