Wind briefs: CT, February 2010

News from Gurit, PPG Industries and TPI Composites.

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Gurit (Wattwil, Switzerland), has signed an agreement to acquire Suzhou Red Maple Wind Blade Mould Co. Ltd. (Taicang, Jiangsu, China) by taking over the entirety of its parent company Cheer Tech Investment Ltd., Hong Kong, from Windy Shore Holdings Ltd. (British Virgin Islands). The acquisition will allow Gurit to substantially increase its strategic technology and product offerings in the rapidly growing wind energy market, especially in Asia. In contrast to the rest of the world, the Chinese wind turbine market uses predominantly infusion technology. With the acquisition, Gurit gains control of what is reportedly China’s largest indigenous producer of wind turbine blade infusion molds, and China becomes Gurit’s largest manufacturing base, worldwide, employing more than 800 people in Taicang, Tianjin, and Qingdao. The transaction is valued in the range of CHF 40 million ($38.7 million USD).

PPG Industries (Pittsburgh, Pa.) has announced the certification of HYBON fiberglass roving products for use in wind turbine blade production by Germanischer Lloyd (Hamburg, Germany), a leading international certification body serving the wind energy industry. The certification includes PPG’s HYBON 2001, 2002, 2006 and high-performance 2026 fiberglass rovings. It applies to products manufactured at all five of PPG’s fiber glass manufacturing locations – three in the United States; one in Wigan, England, U.K.; and one in Zibo, Shandong Province, China. The latter is a joint venture of PPG and Sinoma Jinjing Fiber Glass Co. Ltd. According to Cheryl Richards, PPG’s global market manager – wind energy, HYBON rovings are compatible with a variety of resins, including vinyl ester.

TPI Composites Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.), a supplier of wind turbine blades, announced on Dec. 3 that it has completed a Series B-1 funding transaction that raised $26 million in growth capital from Element Partners (Radnor, Pa.) and existing investors. The company also announced the addition of Michael DeRosa of Element Partners and Daniel Weiss of Angeleno Group to TPI’s board of directors. Current investors Landmark Growth Capital Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners, Angeleno Group and GE Capital also participated in the B-1 round. “We continue to be excited about the growth prospects provided by the wind industry,” says TPI president and CEO Steve Lockard. “We are very pleased, especially in the current difficult financing environment, to have raised this equity capital to continue to support our growth.”