By Ahmed Eljechtimi
RABAT (Reuters) - Wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa plans to sell its blade factory in Tangier, northern Morocco, with production there stopping by early 2023, a senior company official said.
"The decision was taken from a global perspective that accounted for changing market demands, increased competition, and the impact of a severe supply chain crisis," said Paulo Fernando Soares, Onshore CEO for South Europe, Africa, Latin America and Brazil.
Pandemic-related supply chain problems, competition and skyrocketing steel and aluminium prices - exacerbated by the war in Ukraine - have made manufacturing wind turbine components a tough business in recent years, despite strong demand from governments banking on wind energy to wean themselves off fossil fuels.
The closure will not affect the company's ability to deliver on current projects, he said.
Besides Morocco, Siemens Gamesa operates in nine other African countries with a market share of 50% of installed wind energy capacity.
Its key African markets remain Egypt, South Africa and Morocco, countries that offer suitable policy frameworks and grid stability that encourages infrastructure investment and wind-power projects, Soares told Reuters by email.
Supply chain disruption had made energy transition projects on the continent more costly, he added.
The company said in early November its core earnings margin during the year that ended on Sept. 30, including gains from selling its development division, was minus 5.9%, below its own August forecast of minus 5.5%.
Siemens Gamesa expects long-term demand to boom after 2024 amid the global push for decarbonisation, which it said should see demand for electricity increasing by 30% between 2020 and 2030.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)