The first quarter of 2011 saw many cleantech shares put on double-digit percentage gains. The best performances occurred in March, amid political concerns about the future for nuclear energy after the Fukushima plant accident in Japan and the high oil price resulting, in part, from the unrest in the Middle East.
Big gains were achieved by the leading European cleantech companies. Shares in top French renewable energy business EDF Energies Nouvelles, which posted full year results for 2010 that were ahead of expectations, jumped 12.7% during March to €37.20 – an increase of 17.5% on their price at the start of the year. EDF’s Portuguese rival, EDP Renováveis, enjoyed a 16.6% rise in its share price during March.
Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems’ shares ended March 22.6% up after the firm’s announcement of new orders and a new offshore wind turbine.
In Germany, shares in solar inverter maker SMA Solar Technologies jumped almost 15% in March as the company announced that both sales and profits more than doubled in 2010. Fellow German company Centrotherm, a major supplier of manufacturing equipment to the solar sector, also saw its shares rise – by 28.6% – during the month in the run-up to the firm’s report of solid results.
Spain’s Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica, which manufactures wind turbines, saw its shares increase by 14.7% in March, while shares in wind farm developer Iberdrola Renovables gained 12.1% during the month.
But the country’s standout performer was Solaria Energia y Medio Ambiente, whose shares saw a gain of 39.2% to €2.38 each in March and are now up some 64% on the start of the year. Solaria announced a string of deals during the first quarter, while also reporting that last year’s sales were 81% higher than those achieved in 2009.
Europe was not alone in seeing share price rises. All but one of the cleantech indices that we track showed solid gains for the first quarter of the year.
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