Blade Manufacturer TPI Composites Prices IPO for Growth

Composite wind turbine blade manufacturer TPI Composites last week priced its initial public offering of 6.25 million shares.

The decision to go public was driven by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company’s interest in strengthening its balance sheet, increasing working capital and creating a path to liquidity for TPI’s private equity investors, TPI President and CEO Steven Lockard told Renewable Energy World.

Shares were priced at $11, and TPI granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 937,500 additional shares at the initial public offering price. Trading commenced on July 21 on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol TPIC. On July 28, shares were trading at $14.40, according to NASDAQ.

Image: TPI Composites President and CEO Steven Lockard, Credit: Guy MANCUSO Photography

TPI has been involved in the wind industry since 2001, and its current customers include wind turbine providers GE, Vestas, Gamesa and Nordex. Wind-related sales account for the majority of TPI’s revenue, according to Lockard. The company also has some development activities in the transportation space with limited volume production.

“There has been a fairly significant move to outsourcing of blades in a strategic partnership model that TPI has helped to enable by dedicating facilities and factory space for building our customers’ blades,” Lockard said.

Currently TPI has six operational wind blade facilities and two more that are on the way. Operating facilities are located in the U.S., Mexico, Turkey and China.

“We’ve announced recently a new facility in Mexico — Mexico plant two — with Gamesa as our anchor customer, and then a second facility in Turkey — Turkey plant two — with Vestas as our anchor customer,” Lockard said.

The company’s footprint of factories serves both the large wind markets and a number of growing markets.

“As an example, the U.S. is a large market, and our U.S. operations in Iowa and our Mexico operations would serve the U.S. market,” Lockard said. “Mexico and Turkey are both roughly 1-GW markets per year, whereas China and the U.S. and countries in Europe are larger markets, but Mexico and Turkey are running at significantly higher growth rates.”

He added that the company can ship blades from its China facility to markets around the world that are in close proximity to a port.

TPI also works in R&D in materials and process, tooling technologies, and inspection and detection technologies.

“There continue to be innovations in the advanced materials space that are allowing us to make longer blades, meet performance specifications, and help drive down levelized cost of energy (LCOE),” Lockard said. “LCOE has come down about 61 percent over the last six years, and that’s mainly from longer blades and taller towers, which allows the hub height to reach areas where the wind stream is richer, and the swept area to be larger.”

Lead image credit: Guy MANCUSO Photography

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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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