Vestas closing Houston office to save costs
Vestas confirmed plans to close its operation in Houston.
The Houston research center for the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas Wind Systems, will be moved to another U.S. location, a casualty of the Denmark-based company’s effort to reduce fixed costs by more than $189 million at the end of this year.
A company spokesman confirmed this week that the Houston office, which had 75 employees at its peak in 2011, is on a list for closure. Andrew Longteteig, spokesman for the company’s U.S. headquarters in Portland, said 30 employees still work at the Houston location.
Vestas said earlier this year that as many as 2,335 employees worldwide — including 182 in the U.S. — would receive layoff notices during 2012. The company has 3,000 U.S. employees and maintains its headquarters in Portland, where employees recently moved into a spanking new headquarters building, and manufacturing facilities in Denver.
“Vestas has eliminated positions strategically in various locations in North America, including Houston, to meet the company global restructuring and cost-reduction requirements,” Longeteig said.
Relocation options are being considered for the Houston research work, with a final decision to be reached in 2013.
“When that decision is made, we intend to offer relocation opportunities to as many Houston employees as possible,” he said.
President and CEO Ditlev Engel has said that Vestas is preparing for a future downturn in the U.S. wind energy market, especially given the the expiration of the U.S. Production Tax Credit program at the end of the year. If the program isn’t extended, Vestas said it may eliminate another 1,600 U.S. jobs.
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