Ingeteam: Renewable markets developing more slowly than expected

Spanish wind and solar product manufacturer Ingeteam Inc. hasn’t created jobs in Milwaukee at the pace it expected, which is due in part to slow growth in the renewable markets it targeted.

“Even though we had a slower than forecasted growth in our employment numbers at this point, our commitment to reach 275 employees remains the same,” said Aitor Sotes, U.S. chief executive officer. “The markets for our products in the renewable energy sectors have not grown at the pace we expected. However, we have developed partnerships in other industries such as marine, industrial drives, etc. that have made us bring a new business unit to the U.S. earlier than anticipated, giving us confidence that we will reach our original employment numbers.”

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee last week gave Ingeteam the OK for five more years to create the 275 jobs it promised in return for a loan from the City of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Common Council also needs to approve the extension.

The company received a $2 million forgivable loan from RACM in June 2010 to finance the construction of its $15 million, 140,000-square-foot Menomonee Valley manufacturing facility. The funds for the loan were provided by a tax incremental financing district.

As a condition for receiving the forgivable loan, Ingeteam set an ambitious hiring timeline — 275 employees by 2015. The company has created just 77 jobs to date, Sotes said.

Under the new timeline, Ingeteam plans to reach just 100 employees in 2015. But the company expects the pace of hiring to pick up soon, attributable to new fields it is entering, improvement in the overall economy and new partnerships it is forming, said Milwaukee Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming.

“There had been some uncertainty in renewable energy tax credits, and that delayed contracts being executed,” Fleming said. “They are upbeat at Ingeteam about their future. They simply have not attained the growth they anticipated.”

The company, which got off to a slow start manufacturing wind turbines and solar inverters at its facility at 3550 W. Canal St., also received $1.6 million in federal stimulus tax credits, a $500,000 capital financing loan from the state and $4.5 million in state tax credits to locate in Wisconsin.

Manufacturing started in December 2011 for the Power Electronics products and October 2012 for the generators, Sotes said.

“We have only applied for the loan modification for the RACM loan,” Sotes said. “We have not requested any modifications to the other agreements.”

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