By Ahmed Eljechtimi
RABAT, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa plans to sell its blade factory located in Tangier, northern Morocco, and stop production there in early 2023, a senior company official has said.
"The decision has been taken from a global perspective that takes into account changes in market demand, increased competition and the impact of a severe supply chain crisis," said Paulo Fernando Soares, general manager of onshore wind for southern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Brazil.
Supply chain problems related to pandemics, competition and skyrocketing steel and aluminum prices - exacerbated by the Ukraine war - have made wind turbine component manufacturing a tough business in recent years, despite strong demand from states betting on wind power to divest from fossil fuels.
The closure will not affect the company's ability to deliver on current projects, he said.
In addition to Morocco, Siemens Gamesa operates in nine other African countries, with a 50% market share of installed wind capacity.
Its key African markets remain Egypt, South Africa and Morocco, countries that offer suitable policy frameworks and grid stability that encourages investment in wind power infrastructure and projects, Soares told Reuters by email.
Supply chain disruption has made energy transition projects on the continent more expensive, he added.
The company said in early November that its operating profit (ebit) margin for the year ended Sept. 30, including gains from the sale of its development division, was negative -5.9%, which was below its own August forecast of -5.5%
Siemens Gamesa expects long-term demand to soar from 2024 onwards as part of the global drive to decarbonize, which it said will see electricity demand rise 30% between 2020 and 2030.
(Report by Ahmed Eljechtimi; edited in Spanish by Flora Gómez)