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AMSC's 100-MW Wind Deal: New Life After Sinovel

Massachusetts-based American Superconductor, which is embroiled in a bitter dispute with Chinese wind manufacturer Sinovel, has reached a 100-megawatt (MW) deal with growing Indian turbine maker Inox in a move that may spur renewed interest from investors.

AMSC in September filed criminal complaints, accusing Sinovel of stealing proprietary technology, and the company severed ties with what had become its biggest client. AMSC is now suing Sinovel for more than $1.2 billion.

The move left the company scrambling to reposition itself in a fast-changing industry. The deal with Inox may help in that respect. AMSC, which supplies power electronics for wind turbines, expects to ship the electrical control systems to Inox in 2012. The deal marks the fourth volume order that AMSC has received from Inox in the past two years.

According to Maxim analyst Aaron Chew, the deal “underscores the sustainability of AMSC’s new business model and gives it momentum heading into 2012.” He went on to call Inox “an up-and-coming Indian wind manufacturer with 800 MW of capacity that has become one of AMSC’s key customers.”

The biggest takeaway from Chew’s perspective is what the deal means for AMSC’s life after Sinovel. “Following the loss of its No. 1 customer, Sinovel, we believe investors have largely given up on AMSC. However, we believe this contract underscores our thesis that AMSC has the wherewithal to recover from the loss and develop a sustainable business model,” he wrote. “We continue to forecast about $55 million in gross profit for AMSC to stem its cash burn; the Inox deal helps it begin to pave the path there.”

Lead image: Sunflower and Wind Turbine via Shutterstock

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