Wind company Vestas to lay off 114

Vestas Americas on Thursday cut 114 positions, or 6 percent of its North American work force, due to sluggish demand for wind energy projects.

Vestas Americas is the Portland-based North American headquarters of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the Randers, Denmark-based wind turbine manufacturer.

The cuts impact only 15 at the company’s Portland office, which employs around 500 in sales, installation and service.

The majority of the positions cut were in service and sales across the U.S. and Canada, said Aili Jokela, spokeswoman for Vestas Americas. She said the company’s manufacturing operations in Colorado were not affected by the cuts.

Vestas on Wednesday reported global 2009 earnings of $793 million on more than $9 billion in revenue — both company records.

But the company lowered its 2010 revenue outlook to about $9.6 billion from the nearly $11 billion it forecast earlier. The company said the intake of new orders is expected to come so late in the year that it’s not likely Vestas will hit the higher revenue goal this year.

It’s unclear whether the job cuts announced Thursday will have any bearing on Vestas’ plans to expand into a larger Portland headquarters building.

In December 2008 the company announced plans to build a 600,000-square-foot building in Portland to house its North American headquarters, which are now sprawled across five buildings in downtown Portland.

Initial plans called for breaking ground in late 2009, but that was put on hold as the global economy slowed the pace of wind turbine sales, which had been growing at 29 percent annually.

Martha Wyrsch, who was hired as president of Vestas Americas in June, has said the company would also considering leasing existing office space as an alternative to building a new headquarters.

But she told the Portland Business Journal last fall that Vestas isn’t in any hurry to resolve its space constraints.

“I’ve asked everybody to step back and show me all the options,” she said at the time. “I don’t see anything happening until early to mid-2011.”

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