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EX-32.2 - EX-32.2 - TPI COMPOSITES, INCtpic-ex322_539.htm
EX-32.1 - EX-32.1 - TPI COMPOSITES, INCtpic-ex321_535.htm
EX-31.2 - EX-31.2 - TPI COMPOSITES, INCtpic-ex312_536.htm
EX-31.1 - EX-31.1 - TPI COMPOSITES, INCtpic-ex311_537.htm
EX-23.1 - EX-23.1 - TPI COMPOSITES, INCtpic-ex231_538.htm

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to

Commission File Number 001-37839

 

TPI Composites, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

20-1590775

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

8501 N. Scottsdale Rd.

Gainey Center II, Suite 100

Scottsdale, AZ 85253

(480) 305-8910

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number,

including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01

 

NASDAQ Global Market

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit and post such files). YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definition of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  (Do not check if a small reporting company)

 

Small reporting company

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). YES  NO 

 

The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant, based on the closing price of the shares of common stock on July 22, 2016 as reported by the NASDAQ Global Market on such date was approximately $81 million. The Registrant has elected to use July 22, 2016, which was the initial trading date on the NASDAQ Global Market, as the calculation date because on June 30, 2016 (the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter), the Registrant was a privately held company. Shares of the Registrant’s common stock held by each executive officer, director and holder of 5% or more of the outstanding common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This calculation does not reflect a determination that certain persons are affiliates of the Registrant for any other purpose.

 

As of February 28, 2017, Registrant had 33,736,863 shares of common stock outstanding.

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Portions of the Registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to the Annual Meeting of Stockholders, scheduled to be held on May 16, 2017, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

 

2

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

13

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

39

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

40

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

40

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

41

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

42

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

 

44

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

47

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

73

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

74

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

74

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

74

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

75

 

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

76

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

76

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

76

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

76

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

76

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

 

76

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

76

 

 

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including statements regarding our future results of operations and financial position, business strategy and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. In many cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar words. Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

growth of the wind energy market and our addressable market;

 

the potential impact of General Electric’s pending acquisition of LM Wind Power upon our business;

 

our future financial performance, including our net sales, cost of goods sold, gross profit or gross margin, operating expenses, ability to generate positive cash flow, and ability to achieve or maintain profitability;

 

the sufficiency of our cash and cash equivalents to meet our liquidity needs;

 

our ability to attract and retain customers for our products, and to optimize product pricing;

 

competition from other wind blade manufacturers and wind blade turbine manufacturers;

 

the discovery of defects in our products;

 

our ability to successfully expand in our existing markets and into new international markets;

 

worldwide economic conditions and their impact on customer demand;

 

our ability to effectively manage our growth strategy and future expenses;

 

our ability to maintain, protect and enhance our intellectual property;

 

our ability to comply with existing, modified or new laws and regulations applying to our business, including the imposition of new taxes, duties or similar assessments on our products; and

 

the attraction and retention of qualified employees and key personnel.

These forward-looking statements are only predictions. These statements relate to future events or our future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to materially differ from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. We have described under the heading “Risk Factors” included in Part 1, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K the principal risks and uncertainties that we believe could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements. Because forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as guarantees of future events.

The forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K represent our views as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause our views to change. However, while we may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or developments after the date on which the statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events except to the extent required by applicable law. You should, therefore, not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures, or investments we may make.

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PART I

Item 1. Business

Description of Business

TPI Composites, Inc. is the holding company that conducts substantially all of its business operations through its direct and indirect subsidiaries (collectively, the Company or we). The Company was founded in 1968 and has been producing composite wind blades since 2001. The Company’s knowledge and experience of composite materials and manufacturing originates with its predecessor company, Tillotson Pearson Inc., a leading manufacturer of high-performance sail and powerboats along with a wide range of composite structures used in other industrial applications. Following the separation from the boat building business in 2004, the Company reorganized in Delaware as LCSI Holding, Inc. and then changed its corporate name to TPI Composites, Inc. in 2008.

Overview

We are the largest U.S.-based independent manufacturer of composite wind blades. We enable many of the industry’s leading wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), who have historically relied on in-house production, to outsource the manufacturing of some of their wind blades through our global footprint of advanced manufacturing facilities strategically located to serve large and growing wind markets in a cost-effective manner. Given the importance of wind energy capture, turbine reliability and cost to power producers, the size, quality and performance of wind blades have become highly strategic to our OEM customers. As a result, we have become a key supplier to our OEM customers in the manufacture of wind blades and related precision molding and assembly systems. We have entered into long-term supply agreements pursuant to which we dedicate capacity at our facilities to our customers in exchange for their commitment to purchase minimum annual volumes of wind blade sets, which consist of three wind blades. As of February 28, 2017, our long-term supply agreements provide for estimated minimum aggregate volume commitments from our customers of $2.6 billion and encourage our customers to purchase additional volume up to, in the aggregate, an estimated total contract value of up to $3.9 billion through the end of 2023. This collaborative dedicated supplier model provides us with contracted volumes that generate significant revenue visibility, drive capital efficiency and allow us to produce wind blades at a lower total delivered cost, while ensuring critical dedicated capacity for our customers.

Our wind blade and precision molding and assembly systems manufacturing businesses accounted for over 99% of our total net sales for each of the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014. We also leverage our advanced composite technology and history of innovation to supply high strength, lightweight and durable composite products to the transportation market. For a further discussion regarding our wind blade and precision molding and assembly system businesses, refer to the discussion in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Initial Public Offering and Stock Split

In July 2016, we completed an initial public offering (IPO) of 7,187,500 shares of our common stock at a price of $11.00 per share, which included 937,500 shares issued pursuant to the underwriters’ over-allotment option. Certain of our existing shareholders, a non-employee director and executive officers purchased an aggregate of 1,250,000 shares of common stock in the IPO included in the total issuance above. The net proceeds from the IPO were $67.2 million after deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses. Immediately prior to the closing of the IPO, all shares of the then-outstanding redeemable preferred shares converted into an aggregate of 21,110,204 shares of common stock and the redeemable preferred share warrants converted on a net issuance basis into 120,923 shares of common stock. In addition, concurrent with the closing of the IPO, certain subordinated convertible promissory notes in the aggregate principal and interest amount of $11.9 million were converted into 1,079,749 shares of common stock at the public offering price of $11.00 per share.

Prior to the IPO, in July 2016 we amended our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to effect a 360-for-1 forward stock split of our common stock. As a result of the stock split, we have adjusted the share amounts authorized and issuable under our share-based compensation plans. All share and per share common stock information (including those related to our share-based compensation plans) referenced throughout the consolidated

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financial statements and notes thereto have been retroactively adjusted to reflect this stock split. The stock split did not cause an adjustment to the par value of the authorized shares of common stock.

Financial Information about Segments and Geographic Areas

We divide our business operations into four geographic operating segments—the United States, Asia, Mexico and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as follows:

 

Our U.S. segment includes (1) the manufacturing of wind blades at our Newton, Iowa plant, (2) the manufacturing of precision molding and assembly systems used for the manufacture of wind blades at our Warren, Rhode Island facility, (3) the manufacturing of composite solutions for the transportation industry, which we also conduct at our Rhode Island and Massachusetts facilities and (4) our corporate headquarters, the costs of which are included in general and administrative expenses.

 

Our Asia segment includes (1) the manufacturing of wind blades at our facility in Taicang Port, China and at our two facilities in Dafeng, China, (2) the manufacturing of precision molding and assembly systems at our Taicang City, China facility, (3) the manufacture of components at our second Taicang Port, China facility and (4) wind blade inspection and repair services.

 

Our Mexico segment manufactures wind blades from our three facilities in Juárez, Mexico, one of which commenced operations in 2014, the second during the third quarter of 2016 and the third in January 2017.

 

Our EMEA segment manufactures wind blades from our two facilities in Izmir, Turkey. We entered into a joint venture in 2012 to produce wind blades at our first Turkey plant and in 2013 became the sole owner of the Turkey operation with the acquisition of the remaining 25% interest. Our EMEA segment commenced operations at our second facility during the third quarter of 2016.

For additional information regarding our operating segments and geographic areas, see Note 19 – Segment Reporting of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Business Strategy

Our long-term success will be driven by our business strategy. The key elements of our strategy are as follows:

 

Grow our existing relationships and develop new relationships with leading industry OEMs. We plan to continue growing and expanding our relationships with existing customers who, according to data from MAKE Consulting (MAKE), represented approximately 32% of the global onshore wind energy market, approximately 56% of that market excluding China, and over 82% of the U.S. onshore wind turbine market over the three years ended December 31, 2015, based on megawatts (MWs) of energy capacity installed, as well as developing new relationships with other leading industry OEMs. We are presented with opportunities to expand our existing relationships and develop new relationships with industry OEMs as they seek to capitalize on the benefits of outsourced wind blade manufacturing while maintaining high quality customization and dedicated capacity. In 2016, we extended the term of our existing Iowa and Mexico supply agreements with General Electric International, Inc. and its affiliates (GE Wind), and entered into a new supply agreement with GE Wind to supply them with wind blades from our third manufacturing facility in Mexico, which became operational in January 2017. We also entered into a new supply agreement with Gamesa Wind US LLC (Gamesa) whereby we will continue to supply wind blades to them from our existing manufacturing facility in Mexico as well as from our second Mexico manufacturing facility. We also extended the term of our existing Turkey supply agreement with Nordex SE (Nordex) and entered into a new supply agreement with Nordex to supply them with wind blades from our second manufacturing facility in Turkey. In January 2017, we extended the term of our existing China supply agreement with Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Vestas) and also amended our existing Turkey supply agreement with Vestas.

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Expand our footprint in large and growing wind markets, capitalize on the continuing outsourcing trend and evaluate strategic acquisitions. As the wind energy market continues to expand globally and many wind turbine OEMs continue to shift towards increased outsourcing of wind blade manufacturing, we believe we are well-positioned to continue the expansion of our global footprint. We utilize our strengths in composites technology and manufacturing, combined with our collaborative dedicated supplier model to provide our customers with an efficient solution for their expansion in large and growing wind markets. Our quality, reliability and total delivered cost reduce sourcing risk for our customers. In addition, our demonstrated ability to expand into new markets and the strength of our manufacturing capabilities afford us the optionality either to build new factories or grow through strategic acquisitions.

 

Focus on continuing innovation. We have a history of innovation in advanced composite technologies and production techniques and use several proprietary technologies related to wind blade manufacturing. With this culture of innovation and a collaborative “design for manufacturability” approach, we continue to address increasing physical dimensions, demanding technical specifications and strict quality control requirements for our customers’ most advanced wind blades. We also invest in ongoing simplification and selective automation of production processes for increased efficiency and precision. In addition, we plan to leverage our history of composite industry-first innovations to grow our business in the transportation market, in which we believe there is a demand for high precision, structural composites manufacturing.

 

Continue to drive down costs of wind energy. We continue to work with our customers on larger size wind blade models that maximize the capture of wind energy and drive down the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). We also continue to utilize our advanced technology, regional manufacturing facilities strategically located to cost effectively serve large and growing wind markets and ability to source materials globally at competitive costs to deliver high-performing, composite wind blades at a lower total delivered cost. Our collaborative engineering approach and our advanced precision molding and assembly systems allow us to integrate our customer’s design requirements with cost-efficient, replicable and scalable manufacturing processes. We also continue to collaborate with our customers to drive down the cost of materials and production, the benefit of which we typically share with our customers contractually in a manner that reduces LCOE for customers, further strengthens our customer relationships and improves our margins.

Wind Blade Manufacturing Operations and Process

We have developed significant expertise in advanced composite technology and use high performance composite materials, precision molding and assembly systems including modular tooling, and advanced process technology, as well as sophisticated measurement, inspection, testing and quality assurance tools, allowing us to produce over 30,000 wind blades since 2001 with an excellent field performance record in a market where reliability is critical to our customers’ success. We manufacture or have manufactured wind blades ranging from 30 meters to over 60 meters across our global facilities, and have the capability to manufacture wind blades of greater lengths at all of our advanced manufacturing facilities as required by existing or new customers. In combination with our advanced technologies, we seek to create manufacturing processes that are replicable and scalable in our manufacturing facilities located worldwide, regardless of cultural or language barriers. Our integrated manufacturing process allows us to customize each manufacturing step, from raw materials to finished products. It also allows us to systematically design for the entire manufacturing process so that we can achieve better quality control and increase production efficiencies. We believe that our focus on simplifying and, where feasible, automating production processes is critical to manufacturing high-precision, lightweight and durable products at a reasonable cost to our customers. We produce high unit volumes of near-aerospace grade products at industrial costs.

Raw Materials

The key raw materials for our wind blades include highly advanced fiberglass fabrics, select carbon reinforcements, foam, balsa wood, resin, adhesives for assembly of molded components, gel coat or paint for preparation of cosmetic surfaces and attachment hardware including steel components. Most of these materials are available in multiple geographic regions and in reasonably close proximity to our manufacturing facilities. Our

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agreements for the supply of raw materials are designed to guarantee volumes that we believe will be required to fulfill our customers’ wind blade commitments. A portion of our raw materials are subject to price volatility, such as the resins used in our manufacturing processes. Although the majority of materials incorporated into our products are available from a number of sources, certain materials are available only from a relatively limited number of suppliers. We seek multiple suppliers for our raw materials and continually evaluate potential new supplier relationships.

Precision Molding and Assembly Systems

Over the last decade, we have produced hundreds of precision molding and assembly systems, ranging from 30 meters to over 60 meters in length, to support our global operations. We began these operations in our tooling technology center in Warren, Rhode Island. In 2013, we expanded our precision molding and assembly system production capabilities to a facility in Taicang City, China, which serves customers around the globe. While capable of cost-effectively delivering precision molding and assembly systems across all of our facilities, our Rhode Island tooling technology center primarily serves the North American market. Our precision molding and assembly systems have been used to build tens of thousands of wind blades worldwide.

Our tooling solutions include precision wind blade patterns, precision molding and assembly systems, including modular tooling techniques. We believe that our technological and production expertise are key factors in our continued competitiveness, as we address continually increasing physical dimensions, demanding technical specifications, and strict quality control requirements for wind blades.

Wind Blade Production Process

Production of our wind blades requires adherence to the unique specifications of our customers, who design their wind turbines and wind blades to optimize performance, reliability and total delivered cost. With our culture of innovation and a collaborative “design for manufacturability” approach, we have the capability and expertise to manufacture wind blades of different designs, utilizing fiberglass, carbon or other advanced composite materials to meet unique customer specifications. We also have the flexibility to quickly transition our manufacturing capabilities to produce different wind blade models and sizes using our precision molding and assembly systems, including modular tooling techniques.

We have developed a highly dependable method for making high-quality wind blades. We design our proprietary manufacturing processes to be replicable, scalable and transferable to each of our advanced manufacturing facilities worldwide. As a result, we can repeatedly move a product from its design phase to volume production while maintaining quality, even in developing regions of the world. Similarly, we have developed the manual portions of our manufacturing processes based on proven technologies and production methods that can be learned and implemented rapidly by line personnel. We focus on consistency and quality control across our facilities, using hands-on training methods and employing repeatable manufacturing processes.

We use an advanced form of vacuum-assisted resin transfer tooling process to pull liquid resin into a dry lay-up, resulting in light, strong, and reliable composite structures. In our manufacturing process, fiber reinforcements and core materials are laid up in a tool while dry, followed by a vacuum bag that is placed over the layup and sealed to the mold. The wind blade component is then placed under vacuum. The resin is introduced into the wind blade component via resin inlet ports and then distributed through the reinforcement and core materials via a flow medium and a series of channels, saturating the wind blade component. The vacuum removes air and gases during processing, thereby eliminating voids. Pressure differentials drive resin uniformly throughout the wind blade component, providing a consistent laminate. By using a variety of reinforcement and core materials, the structural characteristics of the wind blade can be highly engineered to suit the custom specifications of our customers. Although only occasionally required by our customers, we are also capable of employing additional composite fabrication processes, such as pre-impregnated laminates, in addition to our vacuum infusion process.

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Wind Blade Long-Term Supply Agreements

Our current wind blade customers, which include GE Wind, Vestas, Gamesa and Nordex (which acquired Acciona Windpower, S.A. (Acciona) in April 2016), are some of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers. According to data from MAKE, our customers represented approximately 32% of the global onshore wind energy market, approximately 56% of that market excluding China, and over 82% of the U.S. onshore wind turbine market over the three years ended December 31, 2015, based on MWs of energy capacity installed. In our collaborative dedicated supplier model, our customers are incentivized to maximize the volume of wind blades purchased through lower pricing at higher purchase volumes. As of February 28, 2017, our existing wind blade supply agreements provide for estimated minimum aggregate volume commitments of $2.6 billion and encourages customers to, in the aggregate, purchase additional volume up to an estimated total contract value of up to $3.9 billion through the end of 2023, which we believe provides us with significant future revenue visibility and helps to insulate us from potential short-term fluctuations or legislative changes in any one market. Although in some instances our supply agreements contain liquidated damages provisions in the event of late delivery, we generally do not bear the responsibility for transportation and delivery costs in connection with the delivery of our wind blades.

GE Wind

In 2007, we entered into a supply agreement to build a facility and manufacture wind blades for GE Wind in Taicang Port, China. Later in 2007, we entered into a similar agreement to build a facility and manufacture wind blades for GE Wind in Newton, Iowa. Based on the success of these manufacturing arrangements, we were able to expand our customer relationship with GE Wind through additional supply agreements for our manufacturing facility in Turkey and two of our manufacturing facilities in Mexico in 2011, 2013 and 2016, respectively. Subject to certain exceptions on a plant-by-plant basis, each of our supply agreements with GE Wind provide for a minimum number of wind blade sets to be purchased by GE Wind each year during the term, the schedule for which is established at the outset of the agreement. In return, we commit to dedicate a specific number of manufacturing lines to GE Wind for each of the years 2017 through 2020. Additionally, we create model-specific tooling for GE Wind. For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, we recorded related-party sales under these supply agreements with GE Wind of $379.9 million, $312.5 million and $234.8 million, respectively. In March 2017, the Company and GE Wind announced that the parties do not intend to renew the Turkey supply agreement, which expires on December 31, 2017. Unless otherwise terminated or renewed, our supply agreements with GE Wind are in effect until the end of 2017 for our China facility and the end of 2020 for our Iowa and two Mexico facilities. In some cases, GE Wind may terminate its supply agreements early upon providing us with 123 to 360 days’ advance written notice and in one instance, no advance notice, and paying us termination fees as set forth in the applicable agreement. In addition, either party may terminate these supply agreements upon a material breach by the other party which goes uncured for 30 days after written notice has been provided.

In October 2016, General Electric Company (GE) announced its planned acquisition of LM Wind Power (LM), our largest competitor, and GE anticipates closing this acquisition in the first half of 2017. Although we recently extended and expanded certain of our supply agreements with GE Wind, GE Wind could elect to utilize LM for more of its wind blade production, reduce the volumes of wind blades it purchases from us or terminate any of our supply agreements, which may materially harm our relationship, business, financial condition and results of operations. In March 2017, the Company and GE Wind announced that the parties do not intend to renew the Turkey supply agreement. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Wind Blade Business—GE’s planned acquisition of LM Wind Power, our largest competitor, may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations and may cause the price of our common stock to decline” included in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further discuss on the GE’s planned acquisition and its potential effects on us.  

See Note 3 – Related Party Transactions of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information regarding our related party transactions with GE Wind.

Other Long-Term Supply Agreements

We have entered into other long-term supply agreements in China, Mexico and Turkey. Under all but one of these agreements, we agree to dedicate capacity for a set number of wind blades for each calendar year during the

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term of the agreement in exchange for commitments to purchase minimum annual volumes of wind blade sets. Unless otherwise terminated, these supply agreements generally remain in effect for a period of five years and either party may terminate their respective supply agreements upon a material breach by the other party which goes uncured. Some of these supply agreements contain provisions that allow for termination by the customer upon notice for reasons such as our failure to deliver the contracted wind blade volumes or our failure to meet certain mutually agreed upon cost reduction targets. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Wind Blade Business—Our long-term supply agreements with our customers are subject to termination on short notice and our failure to perform our obligations under such agreements, and termination of a significant number of these agreements would materially harm our business” included in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Research and Development

We have a long history of developing composite products as well as the development of new and advanced materials, tooling, manufacturing processes and inspection methods. Our knowledge and experience of composite materials and manufacturing originates with our predecessor company, Tillotson Pearson Inc., a leading manufacturer of high-performance recreational sail and powerboats along with a wide range of composite structures used in other industrial applications. Leveraging our knowledge and experience, we realized the opportunity to specialize in other industrial end-markets where there was a demand for high precision composite manufacturing capabilities.

We conduct extensive research and development in close collaboration with our customers on the design, development and deployment of innovative manufacturing processes, including automation, advanced materials and sophisticated product quality inspection tools. We partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy, government laboratories, universities and our customers to innovate through cost sharing Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Initiative programs. In 2015, we received an award of $3.0 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy to lead a team of industry and academic participants to design, develop and demonstrate an ultra-light composite vehicle door for high volume manufacturing production in conjunction with other industry and university participants. We employ a highly experienced workforce of engineers in various facets of our business, from discrete research and development projects, to the ongoing, real-time development and implementation of incremental manufacturing and material improvements. Our research and development effort places a priority on improving quality through process and procedure improvement, in addition to reducing cost through specification changes and sourcing of more cost-effective suppliers. Other areas of emphasis include composite design, in-house fabrication of precision molding and assembly systems, prototyping, testing, optimization and volume production capabilities. We also encourage our employees to invent and develop new technologies to maintain our competitiveness in the marketplace. In addition to our internal research and development activities, from time to time, we also conduct research and development activities pursuant to funded development arrangements with our customers and other third parties, and intend to continue to seek opportunities for product development programs that could create recurring revenue and increase our overall profitability over the long term.

For financial statement purposes, research and development is reflected in general and administrative expenses. For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, our research and development expenses were $1.5 million, $0.9 million and $0.8 million, respectively.

Competition

The wind blade market is highly concentrated, competitive and subject to evolving customer needs and expectations. In October 2016, GE, our largest customer, announced its planned acquisition of LM, our largest competitor, and GE anticipates closing this acquisition in the first half of 2017. We also compete primarily with other independent wind blade manufacturers, such as Tecsis GmbH, Sinoma Science & Technology Co. Ltd. and ZhongFu Lianzhong Composites Group Co., Ltd., as well as regional wind blade suppliers in geographic areas where our current or prospective manufacturing facilities are located.

We also compete with, and in a number of cases supplement, vertically integrated wind turbine OEMs that manufacture their wind blades. We believe that a number of other established companies are manufacturing wind blades that will compete directly with our offerings, and some of our competitors, including LM, Tecsis GmbH,

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Sinoma Science & Technology Co. Ltd. and ZhongFu Lianzhong Composites Group Co., Ltd. may have significant financial and institutional resources.

The principal competitive factors in the wind blade market include reliability, total delivered cost, manufacturing capability, product quality, engineering capability and timely completion of wind blades. We believe we compete favorably with our competitors on the basis of the foregoing factors. Our ability to remain competitive will depend to a great extent upon our ongoing performance in the areas of manufacturing capability, timely completion and product quality.

Transportation Products

We seek to create additional recurring revenue opportunities through the supply of other composite structures outside the wind energy market. We believe larger scale and higher volume transportation products, including buses, trucks, electric vehicles and high performance automotive products, are ideally suited for our advanced composite technology because of the benefits derived from weight reduction, corrosion resistance, strength and durability. These benefits should allow us to develop structural composite solutions to assist our customers in developing buses with clean propulsion systems or in meeting new and developing fuel economy standards including the 2025 U.S. Government Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards that are pushing automakers to develop lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles with lower emissions. In 2015, we received a $3.0 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy to design, develop and demonstrate an ultra-light composite vehicle door for high volume manufacturing production in conjunction with various other industry and university participants.

In addition, by producing a range of composite structures, we are able to leverage the materials and manufacturing process technology and expertise developed through one project to maximize production quality, improve performance and minimize costs across our other manufacturing efforts, including our wind blade business. Our projects for customers in the transportation market have historically generated project-related revenues for a specific duration. We intend to seek collaborations with additional customers in these markets that will provide recurring project revenue and business opportunities for us, in addition to the opportunities provided by our existing customers and relationships, and increase our overall profitability over the long term. In 2017, we entered into a supply agreement with Proterra Inc. to supply bus bodies from our New England manufacturing facilities.

Our facility in Warren, Rhode Island manufactures products for customers in the transportation market using the same proprietary and replicable manufacturing processes that we use to produce our wind blades. Our projects for customers in the transportation market include or have included the supply of all-composite bodies for electric buses and automated people mover systems for airports.

Our current principal competitors in the transportation market include suppliers of conventional steel and aluminum products and non-structural automotive fiberglass and other advanced composites-based manufacturers for transportation applications.

Intellectual Property

We have a variety of intellectual property rights, including patents (filed and applied-for in a number of jurisdictions, including the United States, the European Union and China), trademarks and copyrights, but we believe that our continued success and competitive position depend, in large part, on our proprietary materials, tooling, process and inspection technologies and our ability to innovate. Accordingly, we take measures to protect the confidentiality and control the disclosure of our proprietary technology. We rely primarily on a combination of know-how and trade secrets to establish and protect our proprietary rights and preserve our competitive position. We also seek to protect our proprietary technology, in part, by confidentiality agreements with our customers, employees, consultants and other contractors. Trade secrets, however, are difficult to protect. These agreements may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors. To the extent that our customers, employees, consultants or contractors use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions.

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Backlog

As of December 31, 2016 and 2015, the backlog for our wind blades and related products totaled $567.3 million and $519.0 million, respectively. Our backlog includes purchase orders signed in connection with our long-term supply agreements. We generally record a purchase order into backlog when the following requirements have been met: a signed long-term supply agreement has been executed with our customer, a purchase order has been made by our customer and we expect to ship wind blades to such customer in satisfaction of any purchase order within 12 months. Backlog as of any particular date should not be relied upon as indicative of our revenue for any future period. Although in certain circumstances projects may be delayed, in these circumstances the long-term supply agreement generally rolls forward and the revenue remains on the backlog until the project commences.

Regulation

Our operations are subject to various foreign, federal, state and local regulations related to environmental protection, health and safety, labor relationships, general business practices and other matters. These regulations are administered by various foreign, federal, state and local environmental agencies and authorities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor and comparable agencies in China, Mexico and Turkey. In addition, our manufacturing operations in China, Mexico and Turkey are subject to those countries’ wage and price controls, currency exchange control regulations, investment and tax laws, laws restricting our ability to repatriate profits, trade restrictions and laws that may restrict foreign investment in certain industries. Some of these laws have only been recently adopted or are subject to further rulemaking or interpretation, and their impact on our operations, including the cost of complying with these laws, is uncertain. We maintain a policy of adhering to the laws of the United States or the country in which our manufacturing facility is located, whichever is stricter, and believe that our operations currently comply, in all material respects, with applicable laws and regulations. Further, as a U.S. corporation, we and our subsidiaries are subject to The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA), which generally prohibits U.S. companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business.

In addition, our business has been and will continue to be affected by subsidization of the wind turbine industry with its influence declining over time as wind energy reaches grid parity with traditional sources of energy. In the United States, the federal government has encouraged capital investment in renewable energy primarily through tax incentives. Production tax credits for new renewable energy projects were first established in 1992. The Production Tax Credit for Renewable Energy (PTC) provided the owner of a wind turbine placed in operation before January 1, 2015 with a 10-year credit against its U.S. federal income tax obligations based on the amount of electricity generated by the wind turbine.

The PTC was extended in December 2015 for wind power projects through December 31, 2019, and is currently contemplated to be phased down over the term of the PTC extension. Specifically, the PTC will be kept at the same rate in effect at the end of 2014 for wind power projects that either commenced construction or met certain safe harbor requirements by the end of 2016, and thereafter will be reduced by 20% per year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

In August 2015, the EPA announced a final rule adopted pursuant to the Clean Air Act, known as the Clean Power Plan, which establishes national standards for states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. Specifically, the Clean Power Plan requires states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Clean Power Plan also provides for interim state-level compliance reduction targets beginning in 2022 through 2030 based on individualized targets for each of the states utilizing 2012 historical carbon emissions data and three building blocks for emissions reduction including: increasing generation from new zero-emitting renewable energy sources such as wind. In February 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a stay of the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan until the D.C. Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals decides upon the merits of multiple lawsuits challenging the legality of the Clean Power Plan. In addition, President Trump has made comments during his presidency and the presidential campaign suggesting that he is not supportive of various clean energy programs and initiatives designed to curtail global warming and may attempt to eliminate, modify or further reduce the scope of the Clean Power Plan.

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At the state level, as of December 31, 2016, 29 states and the District of Columbia have implemented renewable portfolio standard (RPS) programs that generally require that, by a specified date, a certain percentage of a utility’s electricity supplied to consumers within such state is to be from renewable sources (generally between 15% and 50% by 2020 or 2030).

In addition, there are also increasing regulatory efforts to promote renewable power. China is currently implementing its 13th 5-Year Plan with a goal of 15% total primary energy from non-fossil fuel sources and targeting 210 gigawatts (GWs) of grid-connected wind capacity by 2020 according to its National Development and Reform Commission, and employs preferential feed-in tariff schemes, in addition to local tax-based incentives. Mexico has established strict targets, aiming for 35% renewable energy by 2024 and 50% by 2050, according to MAKE, which it is facilitating through tax incentives. Large European Union members have renewable energy targets for 2020 of between 13% and 49% of all energy use derived from renewable energy sources, according to MAKE. Additionally, Turkey enacted Law No. 5346 in 2005 to promote renewable-based electricity generation within their domestic electricity market by introducing tariffs and purchase obligations for distribution companies requiring purchases from certified renewable energy producers. The World Bank also provided Turkey with an aggregate of $600 million of loan proceeds to encourage investors to construct generation plants with renewable energy resources.

Employees

As of December 31, 2016, we employed over 6,700 full-time employees, approximately 1,260 of whom were located in the United States, 1,940 in China, 2,000 in Mexico and 1,570 in Turkey. Certain of our employees in Turkey are represented by a labor union. We believe that our relations with our employees are good.

Available Information

Our website address is www.tpicomposites.com. All of our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including this Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, statements of changes in beneficial ownership and amendments to those reports, are available free of charge on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The information contained on our website is neither a part of, nor incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, like us, that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that website is www.sec.gov.

Our investor relations website address is www.tpicomposites.com/investors and includes key information about our corporate governance initiatives, including our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee charter, charters of the Audit and Compensation committees and our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.


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Executive Officers

The following table sets forth certain information regarding our Executive Officers as of February 28, 2017:

 

Name

Age

 

Position

Steven C. Lockard

55

 

President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Mark R. McFeely

44

 

Chief Operating Officer

Wayne G. Monie

68

 

Chief Manufacturing Technology Officer

William E. Siwek

54

 

Chief Financial Officer

Lars Moller

49

 

Executive Vice President—Business Development and Strategy

Thomas J. Castle

45

 

Senior Vice President—North American Wind Operations and Global Operational Excellence

Steven G. Fishbach

47

 

General Counsel and Secretary

 

Steven C. Lockard. Mr. Lockard became our President and Chief Executive Officer in 2004 and has served as a member of our board of directors since 2004. Prior to joining us in 1999, Mr. Lockard was Vice President of Satloc, Inc., a supplier of precision GPS equipment, from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, Mr. Lockard was Vice President of marketing and business development and a founding officer of ADFlex Solutions, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed international manufacturer of interconnect products for the electronics industry, from 1993 to 1997. Prior to that, Mr. Lockard held several marketing and management positions including Business Unit Manager, Corporate Market Development Manager and Marketing/Applications Engineer at Rogers Corporation from 1982 to 1993. Mr. Lockard serves on the board of and is co-chair of the policy committee for the American Wind Energy Association and also serves on the board of Fluidic Energy, a privately-held company. Mr. Lockard holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.

Mark R. McFeely. Mr. McFeely joined us in November 2015 as our Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining us, Mr. McFeely served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Remy International, Inc., an OEM and aftermarket supplier of heavy duty and light duty automotive components, from 2012 to 2015. Prior to that, Mr. McFeely was Vice President, Operations of Meggitt Safety Systems Inc. from 2011 to 2012. From 2005 to 2011, Mr. McFeely held several operations and leadership positions within divisions of Danaher Corporation, including General Manager/Plant Manager of Pacific Scientific, General Manager and Vice President, Global Operations of Kollmorgen Vehicle Systems, and General Manager/Director Operations of Jacobs Vehicle System Asia. Prior to 2005, Mr. McFeely held several operations and business development leadership positions at Honeywell International Inc. and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He received a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and an M.B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.

Wayne G. Monie. Mr. Monie has served as our Chief Manufacturing Technology Officer since December 2015 and our Asia CEO from August 2015 through March 31, 2016. Mr. Monie previously served as our Chief Operating Officer from 2004 to 2015 and as our Vice President—Operations from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 to July 2016, Mr. Monie served as a member of our board of directors. Prior to joining us, Mr. Monie was Vice President, Manufacturing for First Solar, Inc., a solar company, from 2001 to 2002. Prior to that, Mr. Monie was Vice President and General Manager of Satloc, Inc., a supplier of precision GPS equipment, from 1998 to 2001. Mr. Monie holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an M.S. degree in Engineering Management from the University of Dayton.

William E. Siwek. Mr. Siwek joined us as our Chief Financial Officer in 2013. Prior to joining us, Mr. Siwek previously served as the Chief Financial Officer for T.W. Lewis Company, an Arizona-based real estate investment company, from September 2012 to September 2013. From May 2010 until September 2012, he was an independent consultant assisting companies in the real estate, construction, insurance and renewable energy industries. Prior to that, Mr. Siwek was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Talisker Mountain, Inc., from January 2009 to April 2010. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Financial Officer of the Lyle Anderson Company from December 2002 to December 2008. Prior to that, Mr. Siwek spent 18 years, from September 1984 to May 2002, with Arthur Andersen where he became a Partner in both Audit and Business Consulting Divisions. Mr. Siwek holds B.S. degrees in Accounting and Economics from University of Redlands and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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Lars Moller. Mr. Moller has served as our Executive Vice President—Business Development and Strategy since April 2016. Prior to that he served as our Senior Vice President—EMEA and Global Supply Chain since September 2015 and prior to that he was our Senior Vice President—EMEA since July 2014. Before joining us, Mr. Moller served as CEO of North American Operations for Global Energy Services, from 2013 to 2014. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Moller served as Group Senior Vice President for Vestas Wind Systems. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Moller served as Executive Vice President and COO for Broadwind Energy and from 2003 to 2007, Mr. Moller served as President of DMI Industries.

Thomas J. Castle. Mr. Castle joined us in November 2015 as our Senior Vice President—North American Wind Operations and Global Operational Excellence. Prior to joining us, Mr. Castle was with Honeywell Aerospace from 2007 to 2015. Mr. Castle served as the Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain, Americas Electronics Operations Center from 2014 to 2015. From 2012 to 2014, he was the Global Vice President of the Honeywell Operating System for Aerospace. Prior to that, Mr. Castle held various positions at the Americas Services Organization from 2007 to 2012. From 1996 to 2007, Mr. Castle was with GE Aviation in roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as the Managing Director of a manufacturing facility in Thailand from 2005 to 2007. Mr. Castle holds a B.S. degree in Aeronautics from St. Louis University.

Steven G. Fishbach. Mr. Fishbach has served as our General Counsel since January 2015. Prior to joining us, Mr. Fishbach served as Deputy General Counsel of Global Cash Access Holdings, Inc. from 2011 to 2015 and Associate General Counsel from 2009 to 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Fishbach served in various senior roles in the legal department of Fidelity National Information Services, Inc./eFunds Corporation from 2005 to 2008. Mr. Fishbach also practiced corporate and securities law at Squire Sanders (now Squire Patton Boggs) from 2000 to 2005. Mr. Fishbach holds a B.A. degree in American Studies from Georgetown University and a juris doctor degree from William & Mary Law School.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the following risk factors. If any of the events contemplated by the following discussion of risks should occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition, growth prospects and cash flows could suffer significantly. Additional risks that we currently do not know about or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also impair our business.

Risks Related to Our Wind Blade Business

GE’s planned acquisition of LM Wind Power, our largest competitor, may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations and may cause the price of our common stock to decline.

In October 2016, GE announced its planned acquisition of LM Wind Power, our largest competitor, and anticipates closing this acquisition in the first half of 2017. We currently have entered into five supply agreements with GE Wind providing for the supply of wind blades from our Iowa facility; two Juárez, Mexico facilities; our original Turkey facility; and our Taicang Port, China facility. In October 2016, we entered into (i) an amended and restated supply agreement for the continued supply of wind blades from our Iowa facility through December 31, 2020, (ii) an amendment to our existing supply agreement for the continued supply of wind blades from our original Juárez, Mexico facility through December 31, 2020 and (iii) a new supply agreement with GE Wind for the supply of incremental wind blades from our second manufacturing facility in Juárez, Mexico through December 31, 2020.

Although we recently extended and expanded certain of our supply agreements, GE Wind may decide to utilize LM for more of its wind blade production as a result of the pending LM acquisition. As such, GE Wind may not continue to purchase wind blades from us at similar volumes or on as favorable terms in the future. In addition, our current supply agreements with GE Wind for the supply of wind blades from our Turkey and Taicang, China facilities expire on December 31, 2017. In March 2017, the Company and GE Wind announced that the parties do not intend to renew the Turkey supply agreement and GE Wind may elect not to renew the China supply agreement. GE Wind also may elect to terminate our Iowa supply agreement at the end of 2018 or 2019 by providing us with 12 months’ advance notice and paying us a specified termination fee. GE Wind may also elect to terminate our two Mexico supply agreements with 15 days’ notice and pay us a termination fee. If GE Wind elects to utilize LM for more of its wind blade production, reduce the volumes of wind blades it purchases from us or terminates any of our supply agreements, it may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, GE Ventures Limited (GE Ventures), a GE affiliated company, owns 8.4% of our outstanding common stock as of December 31, 2016. GE Ventures’ lock-up agreement with our IPO underwriters expired on January 17, 2017 and as a result of GE’s pending acquisition of LM, GE Ventures may be more inclined to sell all or a portion of its shares of our common stock pursuant to the requirements of Rule 144 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. If GE Ventures sells all or a portion of its holdings of our common stock pursuant to Rule 144 or otherwise, it may cause the price of our common stock to decline.

The results of the 2016 United States presidential and congressional elections has created regulatory uncertainty for our business and the wind energy sector and may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

U.S. President Trump, certain members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and key U.S. administrative officials and policy makers have suggested renegotiation of The North American Free Trade Agreement and the implementation of tariffs, duties, border taxes or other similar assessments that could impact the level of trade between the U.S. and Mexico. President Trump also has publicly stated that he may seek to impose tariffs, duties, border taxes or other similar assessments on products imported from China. A substantial amount of the wind blades that we manufacture in our Mexico and China facilities are imported into the United States. If any such tariffs, duties, border taxes or other assessments are imposed on our wind blades that are imported into the United States, it would increase the total cost of our wind blades and may decrease demand for our wind blades. In addition, we may not be able to fully pass on the added cost of such tariffs, taxes, duties or assessments to our customers and may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

President Trump also has made comments during his presidency and the presidential campaign suggesting that he is not supportive of various clean energy programs and initiatives designed to curtail global warming. It remains unclear what specifically President Trump would or would not do with respect to these programs and

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initiatives, and what support he would have for any potential changes to such legislative programs and initiatives in the Unites States Congress, even though both the House of Representatives and Senate are controlled by the Republican Party. If President Trump and/or the United States Congress take action or publicly speak out about the need to eliminate, modify or further reduce the PTC, the Clean Power Plan or other legislation, regulations and incentives supporting wind energy, such actions may result in a decrease in demand for wind energy in the United States and other geographical markets and may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A significant portion of our business is derived from a small number of customers, and one wind blade customer in particular, therefore any loss of or reduction in purchase orders, failure of these customers to fulfill their obligations or our failure to secure long-term supply agreement renewals from these customers would materially harm our business.

Substantially all of our revenues are derived from four wind blade customers. One customer, GE Wind, accounted for 50.3%, 53.3% and 73.2% of our total net sales for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. In addition, three customers, Vestas, Nordex (which acquired Acciona in April 2016) and Gamesa accounted for 20.1%, 17.5% and 10.8% of our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2016, respectively, and two customers, Nordex and Gamesa accounted for 26.5% and 10.3% of our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2015, respectively. Accordingly, we are substantially dependent on continued business from our current wind blade customers, and GE Wind in particular. GE Wind and other customers may not continue to purchase wind blades from us at similar volumes or on as favorable terms in the future. For example, GE Wind has in the past informed us of their intention to terminate a supply agreement. However, in that case, the agreement was not terminated but was instead renegotiated. If GE Wind or one or more of our other wind blade customers were to reduce or delay wind blade orders, fail to pay amounts due or satisfactorily perform their respective contractual obligations with us or otherwise terminate or fail to renew their long-term supply agreements with us, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially harmed.

Defects in materials and workmanship or wind blade failures could harm our reputation, expose us to product warranty or other liability claims, decrease demand for our wind blades, or materially harm existing or prospective customer relationships.

Defects in our wind blades, whether caused by a design, engineering, materials, manufacturing or component failure or deficiencies in our manufacturing processes, are unpredictable and an inherent risk in manufacturing technically advanced products. We have, in the past, experienced wind blade testing failures and defects at some of our facilities during the startup manufacturing phase of new products, and we may experience failures or defects in the future. We have also experienced wind blade failures in the field. Any such customer qualification and wind blade testing failures or other product defects in the future could materially harm our existing and prospective customer relationships. Specifically, negative publicity about the quality of our wind blades or defects in the wind blades supplied to our customers could result in a reduction in wind blade orders, increased warranty claims, product liability claims and other damages or termination of our long-term supply agreements or business relationships with current or new customers.

We may determine that resolving potential warranty claims through a negotiated settlement may be in the best interest of the business and long-term customer relationships. For example, in June 2016, we entered into a settlement agreement and release with Nordex relating to the April 2015 wind blade failure. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Other Contingencies” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information. Wind blades may also fail due to lightning strikes or other extreme weather, which could also result in negative publicity regarding our wind blades and wind energy in general. In addition, product defects may require costly repairs or replacement components, a change in our manufacturing processes or recall of previously manufactured wind blades, which could result in significant expense and materially harm our existing or prospective customer relationships. Further, defects or product liability claims, with or without merit, may result in negative publicity that could harm our future sales and our reputation in the industry. Any of the foregoing could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

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We have experienced, and could in the future experience, quality or operational issues in connection with plant construction or expansion, wind blade model transitions and wind blade manufacturing, which could result in losses and cause delays in our ability to complete our projects and may therefore materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We dedicate most of the capacity of our current wind blade manufacturing facilities to existing customers and, as a result, we may need to build additional manufacturing capacity or facilities to serve the needs of new customers or expanded needs of existing customers. We recently entered into lease agreements with third parties to lease new manufacturing facilities in Mexico and Turkey, and commenced operations at these new facilities in the third quarter of 2016. We have also entered into a new lease with a third party for a third manufacturing facility in Juárez, Mexico, and we commenced operations at this facility in January 2017. The construction of new plants and the expansion of existing plants involves significant time, cost and other risks. We expect our plants to generate losses in their first 12 to 24 months of operations related to production startup costs. Additionally, numerous factors can contribute, and have in the past contributed, to delays or difficulties in the startup of, or the adoption of our manufacturing lines to produce larger wind blade models, which we refer to as model transitions, in our manufacturing facilities, including permitting, construction or renovation delays, the engineering and fabrication of specialized equipment, the modification of our general production know-how and customer-specific manufacturing processes to address the specific wind blades to be tested and built, changing and evolving customer specifications and expectations and the hiring and training of plant personnel. If our production or the delivery by any third-party suppliers of any custom equipment is delayed, the construction or renovation of the facility, or the addition of the production line would be delayed. Any delays or difficulties in plant startup or expansion may result in cost overruns, production delays, contractual penalties, loss of revenues and impairment of customer relationships, which could materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our long-term supply agreements with our customers are subject to termination on short notice and our failure to perform our obligations under these agreements or the termination of agreements would materially harm our business.

Our current long-term supply agreements expire between the end of 2017 and the end of 2023. Some of our long-term supply agreements contain provisions that allow for the termination of those agreements upon the customer providing us with 92 to 365 days’ advance written notice or, in one instance, upon no advance notice, or upon a material breach that goes uncured for up to 15 to 30 days. Additionally, our long-term supply agreements contain provisions allowing our customers to terminate these agreements upon our failure to deliver the contracted wind blade volumes or our failure to meet certain mutually agreed upon cost reductions. Our customers may not continue to maintain long-term supply agreements with us in the future. If one or more of our customers terminate or fail to renew their long-term supply agreements with us, it would materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We operate in an industry characterized by changing customer demands and associated transition costs, which could materially harm our business.

The wind energy industry is competitive and is characterized by evolving customer demands. As a result, we must adapt quickly to customer requests for changes to wind blade specifications, which increases our costs and can provide periods of reduced revenue and margins. For instance, in 2015 in order to satisfy GE Wind’s need for bigger wind turbines with larger wind blades, at GE Wind’s request, we implemented model transitions at our U.S., China, Mexico and Turkey facilities, resulting in unplanned delays in wind blade production and associated transition costs at each of these facilities. We are generally able to share transition costs with the customer in connection with these changing customer demands, but any sharing is the subject of negotiation and the amount is not always contractually defined. If we do not receive transition payments from our customers sufficient to cover our transition costs or lost margins, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially harmed.

The concentration of customers in our wind business could enable one or more of our customers to attempt to substantially influence our policies, business and affairs going forward.

Our dependence on four wind blade customers, and GE Wind in particular, for substantially all of our revenues could encourage GE Wind or these customers to attempt to impose new or additional requirements on us

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that reduce the profitability of our long-term supply agreements with them or otherwise influence our policies, choice of and arrangements with raw material suppliers and other aspects of our business. Our customers could also attempt to influence the outcome of a corporate transaction if the transaction benefits a customer’s competitor or is otherwise perceived as not advantageous to a customer, which could have the effect of delaying, deterring, or preventing a transaction that could benefit us. In addition, consolidation of some of our customers may result in increased customer concentration and the potential loss of customers. For example, GE Wind acquired Alstom S.A.’s power business in 2015, Nordex completed its acquisition of Acciona in April 2016 and in June 2016 Siemens A.G. (Siemens) and Gamesa announced a planned merger of Siemens’ wind business with Gamesa. Although we are not constrained by any exclusivity agreements with any of our existing wind blade customers, they may resist our development of new customer relationships, which could affect our relationships with them or our ability to secure new customers.

Demand for our wind blades may fluctuate for a variety of reasons, including the growth of the wind industry, and decreases in demand could materially harm our business and may not be sufficient to support our growth strategy.

Our revenues, business prospects and growth strategy heavily depend on the continued growth of the wind industry and our customers’ continuing demand for our wind blades. Customer demand could decrease from anticipated levels due to numerous factors outside of our control that may affect the development of the wind energy market generally, portions of the market or individual wind project developments, including:

 

general economic conditions;

 

the general availability and demand for electricity;

 

wind energy market volatility;

 

cost-effectiveness, availability and reliability of alternative sources of energy and competing methods of producing electricity, including non-renewable sources such as natural gas;

 

foreign, federal and state governmental subsidies and tax or regulatory policies;

 

the availability of financing for wind development projects;

 

the development of electrical transmission infrastructure and the ability to implement a proper grid connection for wind development projects;

 

foreign, federal and state laws and regulations regarding avian protection plans, noise or turbine setback requirements and other environmental laws and regulations;

 

administrative and legal challenges to proposed wind development projects; and

 

public perception and localized community responses to wind energy projects.

In addition to factors affecting the wind energy market generally, our customers’ demand may also fluctuate based on other factors beyond our control. Any decline in customer demand below anticipated levels could materially harm our revenues and operating results and could delay or impede our growth strategy.

Changes in customers’ business focus and strategy could materially harm our business and results of operations.

Changes in our customers’ business focus could significantly reduce their demand for wind blades. For instance, GE, the parent corporation of GE Wind, is a highly diversified company that operates in a number of different industries and could decide to devote more resources to operations outside of wind energy or cease selling wind turbines altogether. In addition, GE Wind will begin to insource some of its wind blade production if its pending acquisition of LM is consummated. If any of our customers change their business focus, including a strategic shift to insource some of its wind blade production requirements, it could materially harm our business and results of operations.

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We have experienced in the past, and our future wind blade production could be affected by, operating problems at our facilities, which may materially harm our operating results and financial condition.

Our wind blade manufacturing processes and production capacity have in the past been, and could in the future be, disrupted by a variety of issues, including:

 

production outages to conduct maintenance activities that cannot be performed safely during operations;

 

prolonged power failures or reductions;

 

breakdowns, failures or substandard performance of machinery and equipment;

 

our inability to comply with material environmental requirements or permits;

 

inadequate transportation infrastructure, including problems with railroad tracks, bridges, tunnels or roads;

 

damage or production delays caused by earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, extreme weather conditions such as windstorms, hailstorms, drought, temperature extremes, typhoons or other natural disasters or terrorism; and

 

labor unrest.

The cost of repeated or prolonged interruptions, reductions in production capacity, or the repair or replacement of complex and sophisticated tooling and equipment may be considerable and could result in damages under or the termination of our long-term supply agreements or penalties for regulatory non-compliance, any of which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

We operate a substantial portion of our business in international markets and we may be unable to effectively manage a variety of currency, legal, regulatory, economic, social and political risks associated with our global operations and those in developing markets.

We currently operate manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, Mexico and Turkey, and we intend to further expand our operations worldwide to meet customer demand. We recently entered into lease agreements with third parties to lease new manufacturing facilities in Mexico and Turkey, and commenced operations at these new facilities in the third quarter of 2016. We have also entered into a new lease with a third party for a third manufacturing facility in Juárez, Mexico, and we commenced operations at this facility in January 2017. For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, 75%, 74% and 55%, respectively, of our net sales were derived from our international operations and we expect that a substantial portion of our projected revenue growth will be derived from those operations. Our overall success depends, in part, upon our ability to succeed in differing legal, regulatory, economic, social and political conditions. The global nature of our operations is subject to a variety of risks, including:

 

difficulties in staffing and managing multiple international locations;

 

increased exposure to foreign currency exchange rate risk or currency exchange controls imposed by foreign countries;

 

the risk of import, export and transportation regulations and tariffs on foreign trade and investment, including boycotts and embargoes;

 

taxation and revenue policies or other restrictions, including royalty and tax increases, retroactive tax claims and the imposition of unexpected taxes, including border adjustable taxes;

 

the imposition of, or rapid or unexpected adverse changes in, foreign laws, regulatory requirements or trade policies;

 

restrictions on repatriation of earnings or capital or transfers of funds into or out of foreign countries;

 

limited protection for intellectual property rights in some jurisdictions;

 

inability to obtain adequate insurance;

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difficulty administering internal controls and legal and compliance practices in countries with different cultural norms and business practices;

 

the possibility of being subjected to the jurisdiction of foreign courts in connection with legal disputes and the possible inability to subject foreign persons to the jurisdiction of courts in the United States;

 

the misinterpretation of local contractual terms, renegotiation or modification of existing long-term supply agreements and enforcement of contractual terms in disputes before local courts;

 

the inability to maintain or enforce legal rights and remedies at a reasonable cost or at all; and

 

the potential for political unrest, expropriation, nationalization, revolution, war or acts of terrorism in countries in which we operate.

In particular, our operations in China are subject to a variety of specific risks, which may adversely affect our business, including:

 

the promotion by the Chinese government of indigenous businesses, through the implementation of favorable tax, lending, purchasing and other programs and through local content requirements (which require that wind turbine equipment purchased for wind farm projects in China contain at least a majority of locally-made components) and the uncertainty and inconsistency in the promotion of foreign investment and enterprise in China;

 

the deterioration of the diplomatic and political relationships between the United States and China resulting from such factors as the opposition of the United States to censorship and other policies of the Chinese government, China’s growing trade surpluses with the United States and the potential introduction by the United States of trade restrictions that would impact Chinese imports and any retaliatory measures that could ensue;

 

the uncertainty of the Chinese legal regime generally, and in particular in protecting intellectual property and contractual rights, in securing future land use rights, and the recent adoption of new labor, environmental and tax laws, the impacts of which are not yet fully understood; and

 

various restrictions on our ability to repatriate profits from China to other jurisdictions. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Business as a Whole—We may have difficulty making distributions and repatriating earnings from our Chinese manufacturing operations, which may also occur in some of our other locations.”

We also operate in developing markets, which have, in the past, experienced, and may in the future experience, social and political unrest. For example, Turkey has experienced problems with domestic terrorist and ethnic separatist groups and attempted military coups. The issue of civil rights for Kurdish citizens remains a potential source of political instability, which may be exacerbated by continuing instability in the Middle East.

In addition, Juárez, Mexico, the location of our three Mexico manufacturing facilities, has in the past been subject to violence related to drug trafficking, including kidnappings and killings. This could negatively impact our ability to hire and retain personnel, especially senior U.S. managers, to continue to work at these facilities, or disrupt our operation in other ways, which could materially harm our business.

As we continue to operate our business globally, our success will depend, in part, on our ability to anticipate and effectively manage these and other related risks. We may be unsuccessful in developing and implementing policies and strategies that will be effective in managing these risks in each country where we do business or conduct operations. Our failure to manage these risks successfully could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

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Although a majority of our manufacturing facilities are located outside the United States, our business is still heavily dependent upon the demand for wind energy in the United States and any downturn in demand for wind energy in the United States could materially harm our business.

We have developed a global footprint to serve the growing wind energy market worldwide and have wind blade manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, Mexico and Turkey. Although a majority of our manufacturing facilities are located outside of the United States, historically more than half of the wind blades that we produced were deployed in wind farms located within the United States. Our Iowa and Mexico manufacturing facilities manufacture wind blades that are generally deployed within the United States. In addition, we export wind blades from our China manufacturing facility to the United States. Demand for wind energy and our wind blades in the United States could be adversely affected by a variety of reasons and factors, and any downturn in demand for wind energy and our wind blades in the United States could materially harm our business.

Our focus on wind energy markets in a limited number of geographic areas could result in a material harm to our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The wind energy industry continues to be dependent on developments within a relatively small number of markets and we have developed our global manufacturing footprint and long-term growth strategy to serve these markets. We cannot assure you that these wind energy markets will continue to demand increasing amounts of wind energy going forward. For example, the connection or access of wind turbines to a power grid is very important when locating wind turbines. In each of these markets, there are various laws, rules or regulations that govern the connection or access of wind turbines to the power grid. If the customers of our customers fail to obtain a connection or access to power grids on a timely basis and on economically reasonable terms and enter agreements to sell the electrical energy generated or the number of MW hours that any of these markets consumes declines, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially harmed. In addition, if one of those markets does not develop in line with our expectations, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially harmed.

We may not achieve the long-term growth we anticipate if wind turbine OEMs do not continue to shift from in-house production of wind blades to outsourced wind blade suppliers and if we do not expand our customer relationships and add new customers.

Many wind turbine OEMs rely on in-house production of wind blades for some or all of their wind turbines. Our growth strategy depends in large part on the continued expansion of our relationships with our current wind blade customers, and the addition of new key customers. The majority of our customers possess the financial, engineering and technical capabilities to produce their own wind blades and many source wind blades from multiple suppliers. Our existing customers may not expand their wind energy operations or, if they do, they may not choose us to supply them with new or additional quantities of wind blades. Our collaborative dedicated supplier model for the manufacture of wind blades is a significant departure from traditional vertically integrated methods. As is typical for rapidly evolving industries, customer demand for new business models is highly uncertain. For instance, although we have entered into long-term supply agreements with three customers, Vestas, Gamesa (which in June 2016 announced a planned merger with Siemens’ wind business) and Nordex (which acquired Acciona in April 2016), that also produce wind blades for their wind turbines in-house, we may not be able to maintain these customer relationships or enter into similar arrangements with new customers that produce wind blades in-house in the future. In addition, although GE Wind has historically outsourced all of their wind blade production, GE Wind will insource some of their wind blade production if their pending acquisition of LM is consummated. Our business and growth strategies depend in large part on the continuation of a current trend toward outsourcing manufacturing. If that trend does not continue or we are unsuccessful in persuading wind turbine OEMs to shift from in-house production to the outsourcing of their wind blade manufacturing, we may not achieve the long-term growth we anticipate and our market share could be limited.

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A drop in the price of energy sources other than wind energy, or our inability to deliver wind blades that compete with the price of other energy sources, may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We believe that a customer’s decision to purchase wind blades is to a significant degree driven by the relative cost of electricity generated by wind turbines compared to the applicable price of electricity from the utility grid and the cost of traditional and other renewable energy sources. Decreases in the prices of electricity from the relevant utility grid or from renewable energy sources other than wind energy would harm the market for wind blades. In particular, a drop in natural gas prices could lessen the appeal of wind-generated electricity. Technological advancements or the construction of a significant number of power generation plants, including nuclear, coal, natural gas or power plants utilizing other renewable energy technologies, government support for other forms of renewable energy or construction of additional electric transmission and distribution lines could reduce the price of electricity produced by competing methods, thereby making the purchase of wind blades less attractive to customers economically. The ability of energy conservation technologies, public initiatives and government incentives to reduce electricity consumption or support other forms of renewable energy could also lead to a reduction in the price of electricity, which would undermine the attractiveness of wind turbines, and, in turn, our wind blades. If prices for electricity generated by wind turbines are not competitive, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially harmed.

If any precision molding and assembly systems needed for our manufacturing process contains a defect or is not fabricated and delivered in a timely manner, our ongoing manufacturing operations, business, financial condition and results of operation may be materially harmed.

We custom fabricate many of the precision molding and assembly systems used in our facilities. Our customers also have the option of using third-party manufacturers to produce their custom tooling. If any piece of equipment fails, is determined to produce nonconforming or defective products or is not fabricated and delivered in a timely manner, whether produced by us or a third party, our wind blade production could be interrupted and we could be subject to contractual penalties, warranty claims, loss of revenues and damage to our customer relationships, among other consequences.

Our long-term supply agreements and our backlog are subject to reduction within contractual parameters and we may not realize all of the expected revenue.

Our current long-term wind blade supply agreements generally establish annual purchase requirements on which we rely for our future production and financial forecasts. However, the timing and volume of purchases, within certain parameters, may be subject to change by our customers. In some instances, our customers have the contractual right to require us to reduce the number of manufacturing lines committed to them and correspondingly reduce their minimum annual purchase requirements. Additionally, our minimum annual purchase commitments could potentially understate the actual net sales that we are likely to generate in a given period or periods if all of our long-term supply agreements remain in place and pricing remains materially unchanged. Such minimum annual purchase requirements could also potentially overstate the actual net sales that we are likely to generate in a given period or periods if one or more of our long-term supply agreements were to be terminated by our customers for any reason. As a result, we may not realize the revenue we expect under our long-term supply agreements or pursuant to our backlog, which we define as the value of purchase orders received less the revenue recognized to date on those purchase orders. In addition, fulfillment of our backlog may not result in profits.

The long sales cycle involved in attracting new customers may make the timing of our revenue difficult to predict and may cause our operating results to fluctuate.

The complexity, expense and long-term nature of our supply agreements generally require a lengthy customer education, evaluation and approval process. It can take us from several months to years to identify and attract new customers, if we are successful at all. This long sales cycle for attracting and retaining new customers subjects us to a number of significant risks that may materially harm our business, results of operation and financial condition over which we have limited control, including fluctuations in our quarterly operating results. In addition, we may incur substantial expenses and devote significant management effort to develop potential relationships that do not result in agreements or revenue and may prevent us from pursuing other opportunities.

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We encounter intense competition for limited customers from other wind blade manufacturers, as well as in-house production by wind turbine OEMs, which may make it difficult to enter into long-term supply agreements, keep existing customers and potentially get new customers.

We face significant competition from other wind blade manufacturers, and this competition may intensify in the future. The wind turbine market is characterized by a relatively small number of large OEMs. In addition, a significant percentage of wind turbine OEMs, including most of our current customers, produce some of their own wind blades in-house. As a result, we compete for business from a limited number of customers that outsource the production of wind blades. We also compete with a number of wind blade manufacturers in China, who are growing in terms of their technical capability and aspire to expand outside of China. Many of our competitors have more experience in the wind energy industry, as well as greater financial, technical or human resources than we do, which may limit our ability to compete effectively with them and maintain or improve our market share. Additionally, our long-term supply agreements dedicate capacity at our facilities to our customers, which may also limit our ability to compete if our facilities cannot accommodate additional capacity. If we are unable to compete effectively for the limited number of customers that outsource production of wind blades, our ability to enter into long-term supply agreements with potential new and existing customers may be materially harmed.

We could be affected by increasing competition from new and existing industry participants and industry consolidation.

The markets in which we operate are increasingly competitive and any failure on our part to compete effectively on an ongoing basis could materially harm our business, results of operations or financial condition. The key factors affecting competition in the wind energy industry are the capacity and quality of products, technology, price, the ability to fulfill local market requirements and the scope, cost and quality of maintenance services, training and support.

Competition in the wind energy industry has intensified in recent years as a result of a number of factors, including international expansion by existing industry participants exploiting new markets, particularly as political will around the issues of global warming and the environment become more prominent to the political agenda in those new markets. There has also been increasing pressure from Asian manufacturers rapidly improving the quality and reliability of their technologies, and considering moving out of their local markets and into international cross border transactions. Market entry by certain large industrial groups, including those previously unconnected to the wind energy market, through acquisitions and license agreements and numerous greenfield establishments in certain markets, also poses a competition risk.

The competitive environment in the wind energy industry may become more challenging in the years ahead, particularly in the event of greater consolidation in the industry, leading to greater market power and “economies of scale” by such market players which translate into being able to offer greater “cost of energy” savings to wind power plant customers. For example, GE announced its planned acquisition of LM in October 2016 and also acquired Alstom S.A.’s power business in 2015; Nordex completed its acquisition of Acciona in June 2016 and also in June 2016 Gamesa announced a planned merger with Siemens’ wind business. These transactions or further consolidation in the wind energy industry may have an adverse impact on our business in the future, including, without limitation, reduced demand for our products and services, product innovation, changes in pricing and similar factors, including any competitor’s attempt to duplicate our collaborative dedicated supplier model. Such events could materially harm our business, results of operations, financial condition or prospects.

Significant increases in the prices of raw materials or components that cannot be reflected in the price of our products could negatively affect our operating margins.

The prices of our raw materials and components are subject to price fluctuations resulting from volatility of supply and demand in world markets. Under our long-term supply agreements, our customers generally commit to purchase minimum annual volumes and prices for wind blades are generally set as of the date of our supply agreements and adjusted annually, or in some cases more frequently, for the cost of raw material and our operating expenses in certain cases. As a result, the competitive nature of the wind blade market and our long-term supply agreements with our customers may delay or prevent us from passing cost increases in raw materials and components on to our customers. Significant increases in the price of raw materials or components used in our

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manufactured wind blades that cannot be reflected in the price of our products, could negatively affect our operating margins and materially harm our business, operating results or financial condition.

We could experience shortages of raw materials or components critical to our manufacturing needs, which may hinder our ability to perform under our supply agreements.

We rely upon third parties for raw materials, such as fiberglass, carbon, resins, foam core and balsa wood, and various components for the manufacture of our wind blades. Some of these raw materials and components may only be purchased from a limited number of suppliers. For example, balsa wood is only grown and produced in a limited number of geographies and is only available from a limited number of suppliers. Additionally, our ability to purchase the appropriate quantities of raw materials is constrained by our customers’ transitioning wind blade designs and specifications. As a result, we maintain relatively low inventory and acquire raw materials and components as needed. Due to significant international demand for these raw materials from many industries, we may be unable to acquire sufficient quantities or secure a stable supply for our manufacturing needs. If shortages or delays occur, we may be unable to provide our products to our customers on time, or at all. In addition, a disruption in any aspect of our global supply chain caused by transportation delays, customs delays, cost issues or other factors could result in a shortage of raw materials or components critical to our manufacturing needs. Any supply shortages, delays in the shipment of materials or components from third party suppliers, or changes in the terms on which they are available could disrupt or materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Certain of our long-term supply agreements are highly dependent upon a limited number of suppliers of raw materials.

Our ability to perform under certain of our long-term supply agreements is currently, and may continue to be in the future, highly dependent on a limited number of suppliers of raw materials. For instance, our agreements with certain customers require us or our customers to purchase raw materials from a single supplier unless additional suppliers are evaluated and found to satisfy the requirements set out in those agreements. In 2015, for example, our ability to supply wind blades to one of our customers was constrained because our customer, who under our agreement was required to procure a sufficient supply of a specific type of material, was unable to procure the material from a single source supplier. Should any of these suppliers of raw materials experience production delays or shortages, have their operations interrupted or otherwise cease or curtail their operations, this may disrupt or materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Significant increases in the cost of transporting our wind blades could negatively affect the demand for our products.

A significant portion of our customers’ costs are transportation costs related to the transport of our manufactured wind blades to their customers’ wind farms. Demand for our products could be negatively affected if the costs our customers bear to transport our wind blades increase.

The nature of our manufacturing processes and unanticipated changes to those processes could significantly reduce our manufacturing yields and product reliability, which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

The manufacture of our wind blades involves highly complex and precise processes which may be dictated by our customers’ requests requiring production in highly controlled environments. Changes in our manufacturing processes or that are required by our customers could affect product reliability. Furthermore, many of our processes are manual to facilitate production flexibility and compliance with customer requirements. A manually dependent manufacturing process can limit capacity and increase production costs. In some cases, existing manufacturing techniques may be insufficient to achieve the volume or cost targets of our customers. For example, our manufacturing processes may at times require a quantity of raw materials greater than the quantity for which we have contracted, making it difficult for us to achieve the targeted cost levels negotiated with our customers. In order to achieve targeted volume and cost levels, we may need to increase the quantity of raw materials for which we contract or develop new manufacturing processes and techniques. While we continue to devote substantial efforts to the improvement of our manufacturing techniques and processes, we may not achieve

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manufacturing volumes and cost levels in our manufacturing activities that will fully satisfy customer demands, which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our reserves for warranty expenses might not be sufficient to cover all future costs.

We provide warranties for all of our products, including parts and labor, for periods that typically range from two to five years depending on the product sold. If a wind blade is found to be defective during the warranty period as a result of a defect in workmanship or materials, or if we are required to cover remediation expenses or other potential remedies, in addition to our regular warranty coverage we may need to repair or replace the wind blade (which could include significant transportation, installation and erection costs) at our sole expense. Our estimate of warranty expense requires us to make assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain, including future rates of product failure, repair costs, shipping and handling and de-installation and re-installation costs at customers’ sites. Our assumptions could be materially different from the actual performance of our products and these remediation expenses in the future. The expenses associated with wind blade repair and remediation activities can be substantial and may include changes to our manufacturing processes. If our estimates prove materially incorrect, we could incur warranty expenses that exceed our reserves and be required to make material unplanned cash expenditures, which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

We may not be able to meet our customers’ future wind blade supply demands, which may hinder our customer relationships and reputation.

Historically, our existing customers’ demand and MW capacity goals have mirrored the anticipated growth of the wind energy industry. Given the importance of wind energy capture, turbine reliability and cost to power producers, the size, quality and performance of wind blades have become highly strategic to our OEM customers. If we are unable to maintain future manufacturing capacity at levels that meet our customers’ increasing demands, including with respect to volume, technical specifications, or commercial terms, our existing customers may seek relationships with, or give priority to, other wind blade manufacturers or may use or develop their own internal manufacturing capabilities to meet their increased demand, which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, our reputation could be materially harmed if we are unable to satisfy the requirements of our customers.

We rely on our research and development efforts to remain competitive, and we may fail to develop on a timely basis new wind blade manufacturing technologies that are commercially attractive or permit us to keep up with customer demands.

The market for wind blades is subject to evolving customer needs and expectations. Our research and development is invested in developing faster and more efficient manufacturing processes in order to build the new wind blades designed by our customers that more effectively capture wind energy and are adaptable to new growth segments of the wind energy market. Research and development activities are inherently uncertain and the results of our in-house research and development may not be successful. In addition, our competition may adopt more advanced technologies or develop wind blades that are more effective or commercially attractive. We believe that our future success will depend in large part upon our ability to be at the forefront of technological innovation in the wind energy industry and to rapidly and cost-effectively adapt our wind blade manufacturing processes to keep pace with changing technologies, new wind blade design and changing customer needs. If we are unable to do so, our business, operating results, financial condition and reputation could be materially harmed.

Many of our long-term supply agreements contain liquidated damages provisions, which may require us to make unanticipated payments to our customers.

Many of our long-term supply agreements contain liquidated damages provisions in the event that we fail to perform our obligations thereunder in a timely manner or in accordance with the agreed terms, conditions and standards. Our liquidated damages provisions generally require us to make a payment to the customer if we fail to deliver a product or service on time. We generally try to limit our exposure under any individual long-term supply agreement to a maximum penalty. Nevertheless, if we incur liquidated damages, they may materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

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We depend on third parties for certain construction, maintenance, engineering, transportation, warehousing and logistics services, and failures of those third parties to perform their obligations may in turn impede our ability to perform our obligations.

We contract with third parties for certain services relating to the design, construction and maintenance of various components of our production facilities and other systems. If these third parties fail to comply with their obligations:

 

we may experience delays in the completion of new facilities or expansion of existing facilities;

 

the facilities may not operate as intended;

 

we may be required to recognize impairment charges; or

 

we could experience production delays, which could cause us to miss our production capacity targets and breach our long-term supply agreements, which could damage our relationships with our customers and subject us to contractual penalties and contract termination.

Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition. Our customers also contract with third parties for the transportation of the products we manufacture. In particular, a significant portion of the goods we manufacture are transported to different countries, which requires sophisticated warehousing, logistics and other resources. If our customers fail to contract with third parties for certain construction, maintenance, engineering, transportation, warehousing and logistics services, or there are any disruptions, delays or failures in these services, this could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition.

Various legislation, regulations and incentives that are expected to support the growth of wind energy in the United States and around the world may not be extended or may be discontinued, phased out or changed, or may not be successfully implemented, which could materially harm wind energy programs and materially decrease demand for our wind blades.

The U.S. wind energy industry is dependent in part upon governmental support through certain incentives including federal tax incentives and RPS programs and may not be economically viable absent such incentives. Government-sponsored tax incentive programs including the PTC, and to a lesser extent, the Investment Tax Credit, are expected to support the U.S. growth of wind energy. The PTC provided the owner of a wind turbine placed in operation before January 1, 2015 with a ten year credit against its U.S. federal income tax obligations based on the amount of electricity generated by the wind turbine.

Although the PTC was extended in December 2015 for wind power projects through December 31, 2019, as currently contemplated, the PTC rate is being phased out over the term of the PTC extension. Specifically, as currently contemplated, the PTC will remain at the same rate in effect at the end of 2014 for wind power projects that commence construction by the end of 2016, and thereafter will be reduced by 20% per year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

In 2015, the EPA enacted the Clean Power Plan, which is also intended to promote the growth of renewable energy. However, in February 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a stay of the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan until the D.C. Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals reviews the merits of multiple lawsuits challenging the legality of the Clean Power Plan. If the Clean Power Plan is not successfully implemented, demand for our wind blades may be materially decreased.

In addition, many state governments have adopted measures designed to promote wind energy. For example, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), at the state level, as of December 31, 2016, 29 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have implemented RPS programs that mandate that a specific percentage of electricity sales in a state come from renewable energy within a specified period. However, RPS programs have been challenged lately and they may not continue going forward. These programs have spurred significant growth in the wind energy industry in the United States and a corresponding increase in the demand for our manufactured wind blades. However, although the U.S. government and several state governments have adopted these various programs that are expected to drive the growth of wind energy, they may approve new or additional programs that

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might hinder the wind energy industry and therefore negatively impact our business, operating results or financial condition. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Wind Blade Business—The results of the 2016 United States presidential and congressional elections has created regulatory uncertainty for our business and the wind energy sector and may materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations” included in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K

China is currently implementing its 13th 5-Year Plan with a goal of 15% energy from non-fossil fuel sources and targeting 210 GWs of grid-connected wind capacity by 2020, according to its National Development and Reform Commission, and employs preferential feed-in tariff schemes, in addition to local tax-based incentives. Mexico has established strict targets, aiming for 35% renewable energy by 2024 and 50% by 2050, according to MAKE, which it is facilitating through tax incentives. Large European Union members have renewable energy targets for 2020 of between 13% and 49% of all energy use derived from renewable energy sources, according to MAKE. Turkey enacted Law No. 5346 in 2005 to promote renewable-based electricity generation within its domestic electricity market by introducing tariffs and purchase obligations for distribution companies requiring purchases from certified renewable energy producers. The World Bank also provided to Turkey an aggregate of $600 million of loan proceeds to encourage investors to construct generation plants with renewable energy resources. These programs have spurred significant growth in the wind energy industry internationally and a corresponding increase in the demand for our manufactured wind blades. However, although foreign governments have adopted various programs that are expected to drive the growth of wind energy, they may approve new or additional programs going forward that might hinder the wind energy industry and therefore negatively impact our business as a result. For example, foreign governments may decide to reduce or eliminate these economic incentives for political, financial or other reasons. They may also favor other forms of energy, including current and new sources of energy such as solar, nuclear and hydropower.

Because of the long lead times necessary to develop wind energy projects, any uncertainty or delay in adopting, extending or renewing these incentives beyond their current or future expiration dates could negatively impact potential wind energy installations and result in industry volatility. There can be no assurance that the PTC, the Clean Power Plan or other governmental programs or subsidies for renewable energy will remain in effect in their present form or at all, and the elimination, reduction, or modification of these programs or subsidies could materially harm wind energy programs in the United States and international markets and materially decrease demand for our wind blades and, in turn, materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

We may not be able to obtain, or agree on acceptable terms and conditions for, government tax credits, grants, loans and other incentives for which we have in the past applied or may in the future apply, which may materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

We have in the past and may in the future rely, in part, on tax credits, grants, loans and other incentives under U.S. and foreign governmental programs to support the construction of new plants and expansion of existing manufacturing facilities. We may not be successful in obtaining these tax credits, grants, loans and other incentives, and the tax and other incentives that have already been approved may not be continued in the future. Our ability to obtain funds or incentives from government sources is subject to the availability of funds under applicable governmental programs and approval of our applications to participate in these programs. The application process for these funds and other incentives is and will be highly competitive. We may not be able to satisfy the requirements and milestones imposed by the granting authority as conditions to receipt of the funds or other incentives, the timing of the receipt of the funds may not meet our needs, and, even if obtained, we may be unable to successfully execute on our business plan. Moreover, not all of the terms and conditions associated with these incentive funds have been disclosed to us, and once disclosed, there may be terms and conditions with which we are unable to comply or that are commercially unacceptable to us. Further, participation in certain programs may require us to notify the federal government of certain intellectual property we develop and comply with applicable regulations in order to protect our interests in that intellectual property. In addition, these federal governmental programs may require us to spend a portion of our own funds for every incentive dollar we receive or are permitted to borrow from the government and may impose time limits during which we must use the funds awarded to us that we may be unable to achieve. If we are unable to obtain or comply with the terms of these tax credits, grants, loans or other incentives, our business, operating results and financial condition may be harmed.

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Adverse weather conditions could impact the wind energy industry in some regions and could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our business may be subject to fluctuations in sales volumes due to adverse weather conditions that could delay the erection of wind turbines, the installation of wind blades and the ability of wind turbines to generate electricity efficiently. Moreover, any remediation efforts we could be required to undertake pursuant to wind blade warranties could be delayed or otherwise adversely impacted by poor weather. Although our customer base and geographical footprint is geographically diversified, enduring weather patterns or seasonal variations may impact the expansion of the wind energy industry in certain regions. A resulting reduction or delay in demand for the wind blades we manufacture for our customers could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

In mid-2015, our Audit Committee conducted an internal investigation into allegations of improper business dealings in China. While the investigation did not substantiate the allegations, we ultimately terminated our former Senior Vice President—Asia, then serving as a consultant to the Company, in January 2016 for material violations of his agreements with us and of Company policies, which came to light subsequent to the completion of the internal investigation. Any misconduct that the initial investigation or our subsequent review of the activities of our former Senior Vice President—Asia failed to uncover could have a material adverse effect on our operations generally.

In June 2015, our Audit Committee was notified of allegations that, among other things, our former Senior Vice President—Asia requested personal compensation from suppliers in return for doing business with the Company in China and made excessive payments for capital expenditures. The Audit Committee directed a U.S.-based law firm, assisted by a forensic accounting firm and a law firm with local resources in China, to initiate an investigation into the conduct of the former Senior Vice President—Asia. Although the investigation did not uncover any illegal conduct, the investigation did not disprove the allegations. We subsequently accelerated the implementation of enhanced operational procedures, processes and controls relating to our China operations pursuant to recommendations arising out of the internal investigation and our review of our China operations. This process is currently ongoing.

Although the results of the internal investigation were inconclusive regarding the allegations relating to our former Senior Vice President—Asia, in early August 2015, we entered into a transition agreement with our former Senior Vice President—Asia pursuant to which he transitioned out of his role as Senior Vice President—Asia at the end of 2015. Pursuant to the transition agreement, he was to serve in a consulting capacity to facilitate an orderly transition of operations in China through 2016 and 2017. In January 2016, we subsequently determined that our former Senior Vice President—Asia, then serving as a consultant to the Company, had materially violated the terms of the transition agreement, including the non-compete provisions, and had materially violated Company policies. Following our discovery of these violations, we terminated his consultancy for cause in January 2016 pursuant to the terms of the transition agreement and he is no longer associated with the Company. Subsequent to his termination, we found further evidence that our former Senior Vice President—Asia and three of his subordinates in China, who we also terminated in January 2016, likely engaged in improper conduct involving the misuse of funds in violation of Company policies.

Additional facts or allegations may exist that the internal investigation or our subsequent review did not uncover. The persons that our investigative teams interviewed may have omitted facts or may have been untruthful, and the investigative teams may not have had access to all relevant documents or persons relating to the subject of the investigation. If new evidence concerning the allegations is found in the future, or if new allegations are made or other similar issues arise or are uncovered, our Chinese operations could be materially disrupted, our suppliers and customers may cease to do business with us, our reputation in the marketplace may be materially harmed, we may be required to terminate additional key employees, and we may need to incur substantial legal and accounting costs in investigating and resolving these matters. If any of these risks materialize, we could be subject to fines, penalties, prosecution or other impacts, which could result in a decline in our stock price or materially and adversely affect our business, operating results, liquidity and financial condition.

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Our long-term growth and success is dependent upon retaining our senior management and attracting and retaining qualified personnel.

Our growth and success depends to a significant extent on our ability to attract and retain highly qualified research and development, management, manufacturing, marketing and other key personnel including engineers in our various locations. In addition, we rely heavily on our management team, including Steven C. Lockard, our Chief Executive Officer; Mark R. McFeely, our Chief Operating Officer; William E. Siwek, our Chief Financial Officer; and other senior management. The inability to recruit and retain key personnel or the unexpected loss of key personnel may materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition. Hiring those persons may be especially difficult because of the specialized nature of our business and our international operations. If we cannot attract and retain qualified personnel, or if we lose the services of Messrs. Lockard, McFeely or Siwek, other key members of senior management or other key personnel, our ability to successfully execute our business plan, market and develop our products and serve our customers could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, because of our reliance on our management team, our future success depends, in part, on its ability to identify and develop talent to succeed its senior management. The retention of key personnel and appropriate senior management succession planning will continue to be critical to the successful implementation of our future strategies.

Risks Related to Our Business as a Whole

We may not be able to manage our future growth effectively, which may materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

We expect to continue to expand our business significantly to meet our current and expected future contractual obligations and to satisfy anticipated increased demand for our products. To manage our anticipated expansion, we believe we must scale our internal infrastructure, including establishing additional facilities, improve our operational systems and procedures and manufacturing capabilities, continue to enhance our compliance and quality assurance systems, train and manage our growing employee base, and retain and add to our current executives and management personnel. Rapid expansion of our operations could place a significant strain on our senior management team, support teams, manufacturing lines, information technology platforms and other resources. Difficulties in effectively managing the budgeting, forecasting and other process control issues presented by any rapid expansion could materially harm our business, prospects, results of operations or financial condition. Our inability to implement operational improvements, generate and sustain increased revenue and manage and control our cost of goods sold and operating expenses could impede our future growth and materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

We have a history of net losses and may not achieve or maintain profitability in the future.

We have a history of significant net losses, including a net loss of $6.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2014. For the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, we had net income of $13.8 million and $7.7 million, respectively. As a result of past operating losses, the effect of redeemable preferred share cumulative dividends earned and the accretion to redemption amounts, we had an accumulated deficit of $182.8 million as of December 31, 2016. Although we were profitable for the year ended December 31, 2016, we may not be able to achieve profitability for the current or any future fiscal year. In addition, we expect our operating expenses to increase as we continue to seek new customer relationships and expand our operations. Our ability to achieve and maintain profitability depends on a number of factors, including the growth rate of the wind energy industry, the competitiveness of our wind blades and our ability to successfully build new and expand existing manufacturing facilities and increase production capacity at existing plants. We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including due to the other risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays and other unknown events. In addition, as a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. As a result, our operations may not achieve profitability in the future and, even if we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to maintain or increase it.

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Our financial position, revenue, operating results and profitability are difficult to predict and may vary from quarter to quarter, which could cause our share price to decline significantly.

Our quarterly revenue, operating results and profitability have varied in the past and are likely to vary significantly from quarter to quarter in the future. For example, our quarterly results have ranged from an operating profit of $16.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015 to an operating loss of $2.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015. The factors that are likely to cause these variations include:

 

operating and startup costs of new manufacturing facilities;

 

wind blade model transitions;

 

differing quantities of wind blade production, including the amount subject to storage arrangements;

 

unanticipated contract or project delays or terminations;

 

changes in the costs of raw materials or disruptions in raw material supply;

 

scrap of defective products;

 

warranty expense;

 

availability of qualified personnel;

 

employee wage levels;

 

costs incurred in the expansion of our existing manufacturing capacity;

 

volume reduction requests from our customers pursuant to our customer agreements; and

 

general economic conditions.

As a result, our revenue, operating results and profitability for a particular period are difficult to predict and may decline in comparison to corresponding prior periods regardless of the strength of our business. It is also possible that in some future periods our revenue, operating results and profitability may not meet the expectations of securities analysts or investors. If this occurs, the trading price of our common stock could fall substantially, either suddenly or over time, and our business, operating results and financial condition would be materially harmed.

The fluctuation of foreign currency exchange rates could materially harm our financial results.

Since we conduct a significant portion of our operations internationally, our business is subject to foreign currency risks, including currency exchange rate fluctuations. The exchange rates are affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions. For example, an increase in our Turkey sales and operations will result in a larger portion of our net sales and expenditures being denominated in the Euro and Turkish Lira. Significant fluctuations in the exchange rate between the Turkish Lira and the U.S. dollar, the Turkish Lira and the Euro or the Euro and the U.S. dollar may adversely affect our revenue, expenses, as well as the value of our assets and liabilities. Similarly, an increase in our China sales and operations will result in a larger portion of our net sales and expenditures being denominated in Chinese Renminbi. The Chinese government controls the procedures by which the Chinese Renminbi is converted into other currencies, and conversion of the Chinese Renminbi generally requires government consent. As a result, the Chinese Renminbi may not be freely convertible into other currencies at all times. If the Chinese government institutes changes in currency conversion procedures, or imposes restrictions on currency conversion, those actions may materially harm our business, liquidity, financial condition and operating results. In addition, significant fluctuations in the exchange rate between the Chinese Renminbi and U.S. dollars may adversely affect our expenses as well as the value of our assets and liabilities. To the extent our future revenues are generated outside of the United States in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the Euro, the Turkish Lira, the Chinese Renminbi or Mexican Peso, among others, we will be subject to increased risks relating to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations which could materially harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

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Our manufacturing operations and future growth are dependent upon the availability of capital, which may be insufficient to support our capital expenditures.

Our current wind blade manufacturing activities and future growth will require substantial capital investment. For the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, our capital expenditures were $40.5 million and $31.4 million, respectively, including assets acquired under capital lease in 2016 and 2015 of $10.0 million and $5.0 million, respectively. We have recently entered into lease agreements with third parties to lease new manufacturing facilities in China, Mexico and Turkey. Major projects expected to be undertaken include purchasing equipment for and the expansion of our Dafeng, China and Taicang China facilities and new facilities in Mexico and Turkey. Our ability to grow our business is predicated upon us making significant additional capital investments to expand our existing manufacturing facilities and build and operate new manufacturing facilities in existing and new markets. We generally estimate that the startup of a new six line manufacturing facility requires cash for net operating expenses and working capital of between $15 million to $25 million and additional capital expenditures for machinery and equipment of between $15 million to $25 million. In addition, we estimate our annual maintenance capital expenditures to be between $1.0 million to $1.5 million per facility. We may not have the capital to undertake these capital investments. In addition, our capital expenditures may be significantly higher if our estimates of future capital investments are incorrect and may increase substantially if we are required to undertake actions to comply with new regulatory requirements or compete with new technologies. The cost of some projects may also be affected by foreign exchange rates if any raw materials or other goods must be paid for in foreign currency. We cannot assure you that we will be able to raise funds on favorable terms, if at all, or that future financings would not be dilutive to holders of our capital stock. We also cannot assure you that completed capital expenditures will yield the anticipated results. If we raise additional funds by obtaining loans from third parties, the terms of those financing arrangements may include negative covenants, or other restrictions on our business that could impair our operational flexibility, and would require us to fund additional interest expense. If we are unable to obtain sufficient capital at a reasonable cost or at all, we may not be able to expand production sufficiently to take advantage of changes in the marketplace or may be required to delay, reduce or eliminate some or all of our current operations, which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

As a U.S. corporation with international operations, we are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, which could impact our ability to compete in certain jurisdictions.

As a U.S. corporation, we are subject to the FCPA, which generally prohibits U.S. companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business. We have manufacturing facilities in China, Mexico and Turkey, countries with a fairly high risk of corruption. Those facilities are subject to routine government oversight. In addition, a small number of our raw materials and components suppliers are state-owned in China. Moreover, due to our need to import raw materials across international borders, we also routinely have interactions, directly or indirectly, with customs officials. In many foreign countries, under local custom, businesses engage in practices that may be prohibited by the FCPA or other similar laws and regulations. Additionally, we continue to hire employees around the world as we continue to expand. Although we have recently implemented certain procedures designed to ensure compliance with the FCPA and similar laws, there can be no guarantee that all of our employees and agents, as well as those companies to which we outsource certain of our business operations, have not taken and will not take actions that violate our policies and the FCPA, which could subject us to fines, penalties, disgorgement, and loss of business, harm our reputation and impact our ability to compete in certain jurisdictions. In addition, these laws are complex and far-reaching in nature, and, as a result, we may be required in the future to alter one or more of our practices to be in compliance with these laws or any changes in these laws or the interpretation thereof. Moreover, our competitors may not be subject to the FCPA or comparable legislation, which could provide them with a competitive advantage in some jurisdictions.

We may have difficulty making distributions and repatriating earnings from our Chinese manufacturing operations, which may also occur in some of our other locations.

A material portion of our business is conducted in China. As of December 31, 2016, our China operations had unrestricted cash of $12.3 million, most of which will be used to fund our future operations in China. Our ability to repatriate funds from China to the United States is subject to a number of restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. We repatriate funds through several technology license and corporate/administrative service

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agreements. We are compensated quarterly based on agreed upon royalty rates for such intellectual property licenses and quarterly fees for those services. Certain of our subsidiaries are limited in their ability to declare dividends without first meeting statutory restrictions of the People’s Republic of China, including retained earnings as determined under Chinese-statutory accounting requirements. Until 50% ($5.2 million) of registered capital is contributed to a surplus reserve, our Chinese operations can only pay dividends equal to 90% of after-tax profits (10% must be contributed to the surplus reserve). Once the surplus reserve fund requirement is met, we can pay dividends equal to 100% of after-tax profit assuming other conditions are met. At December 31, 2016, the amount of the surplus reserve fund was $4.4 million. Any inability to make distributions, repatriate earnings or otherwise access funds from our manufacturing operations in China, if and when needed for use outside of China, could materially harm our liquidity and our business.

Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and effectively address fraud risks.

We maintain a system of internal controls to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The process of designing and implementing effective internal controls is a continuous effort that requires us to anticipate and react to changes in our business and the economic and regulatory environments and to expend significant resources to establish and maintain a system of internal controls that will be adequate to satisfy the reporting obligations of a public company. The effectiveness of our internal controls depends in part on the cooperation of senior managers worldwide. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Wind Blade Business—In mid-2015, our Audit Committee conducted an internal investigation into allegations of improper business dealings in China. While the investigation did not substantiate the allegations, we ultimately terminated our former Senior Vice President—Asia, then serving as a consultant to the Company, in January 2016 for material violations of his agreements with us and with Company policies that came to light subsequent to the completion of the internal investigation. Any misconduct that the investigation or our subsequent review of the activities of our former Senior Vice President—Asia failed to uncover could have a material adverse effect on our operations generally.”

Any system of controls, however well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, and not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the system are met. Any failure to maintain that system, or consequent inability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis, could increase our operating costs and harm our business, and lead to our becoming subject to litigation, sanctions or investigations by The NASDAQ Global Market (NASDAQ), the SEC or other regulatory governmental agencies and bodies. Furthermore, investors’ perceptions that our internal controls are inadequate or that we are unable to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis may harm our stock price.

We have in the past experienced material weaknesses. While we have successfully remediated those material weaknesses, we could experience control deficiencies in the future or identify areas requiring improvement in our internal control over financial reporting.

The state of financial markets and the economy may materially harm our sources of liquidity and capital.

There has been significant recent turmoil and volatility in worldwide financial markets. These conditions have resulted in a disruption in the liquidity of financial markets, and could directly impact us to the extent we need to access capital markets to raise funds to support our business and overall liquidity position. This situation could affect the cost of such funds or our ability to raise such funds. If we were unable to access any of these funding sources when needed, it could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our ability to use our net operating loss carry forwards may be subject to limitation and may result in increased future tax liability.

Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code), contain rules that limit the ability of a company that undergoes an “ownership change” to utilize its net operating loss and tax credit carry forwards and certain built-in losses recognized in years after the ownership change. An “ownership change” is generally defined as any change in ownership of more than 50% of a corporation’s stock over a rolling three-year

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period by stockholders that own (directly or indirectly) 5% or more of the stock of a corporation, or arising from a new issuance of stock by a corporation. If an ownership change occurs, Section 382 generally imposes an annual limitation on the use of pre-ownership change net operating losses (NOLs), credits and certain other tax attributes to offset taxable income earned after the ownership change. The annual limitation is equal to the product of the applicable long-term tax exempt rate and the value of the company’s stock immediately before the ownership change. This annual limitation may be adjusted to reflect any unused annual limitation for prior years and certain recognized built-in gains and losses for the year. In addition, Section 383 generally limits the amount of tax liability in any post-ownership change year that can be reduced by pre-ownership change tax credit carryforwards. This could result in increased U.S. federal income tax liability for us if we generate taxable income in a future period. Limitations on the use of NOLs and other tax attributes could also increase our state tax liability. The use of our tax attributes will also be limited to the extent that we do not generate positive taxable income in future tax periods. As a result of these limitations, we may be unable to offset future taxable income (if any) with losses, or our tax liability with credits, before such losses and credits expire. Accordingly, these limitations may increase our federal income tax liability.

Although we have not experienced an ownership change since 2008, it is possible that future transactions may cause us to undergo one or more ownership changes. As of December 31, 2016, we have U.S. federal NOLs of approximately $57.5 million, state NOLs of approximately $77.2 million, foreign tax credits of approximately $2.6 million and Turkey investment tax credits of approximately $0.3 million available to offset future taxable income. In 2008, we had an “ownership change” and the pre-ownership change NOLs existing at the date of change of $25.6 million were subject to an annual limitation of $4.3 million. As of December 31, 2016, the pre-ownership change NOLs are no longer limited. Certain of these NOLs may be at risk of limitation in the event of a future ownership change.

We have U.S. federal and state NOLs. In general, NOLs in one country cannot be used to offset income in any other country and NOLs in one state cannot be used to offset income in any other state. Accordingly, we may be subject to tax in certain jurisdictions even if we have unused NOLs in other jurisdictions. Also, each jurisdiction in which we operate may have its own limitations on our ability to utilize NOLs or tax credit carryovers generated in that jurisdiction. These limitations may increase our federal, state, and/or foreign income tax liability.

Our current credit facility with HPS Investment Partners, LLC and Capital One, N.A. contains, and any future loan agreements we may enter into may contain, operating and financial covenants that may restrict our business and financing activities.

We have a $100.0 million amended and restated credit facility (the Amended Credit Facility) with HPS Investment Partners, LLC and Capital One, N.A., consisting of a $75.0 million term loan and a $25.0 million revolving credit facility, which includes a $15.0 million letter of credit sub-facility. As of December 31, 2016, the aggregate outstanding balance under the Amended Credit Facility was $77.8 million. The Amended Credit Facility is secured by substantially all of our assets. In addition, from time to time, we enter into various loan, working capital and accounts receivable financing facilities to finance the construction and ongoing operations of our advanced manufacturing facilities and other capital expenditures. The Amended Credit Facility contains various financial covenants and restrictions on our and our operating subsidiaries’ excess cash flows and ability to make capital expenditures, incur additional indebtedness and pay dividends or make distributions on, or repurchase, our stock. The operating and financial restrictions and covenants of the Amended Credit Facility, as well as our other existing and any future financing agreements that we may enter into, may restrict our ability to finance our operations, engage in business activities or expand or fully pursue our business strategies. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, and we may not be able to maintain appropriate minimum leverage ratio and fixed charge coverage ratio requirements in the future. A breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under the applicable loan facility, which could cause all of the outstanding indebtedness under such facility to become immediately due and payable by us and/or enable the lender to terminate all commitments to extend further credit. In addition, if we were unable to repay the outstanding indebtedness upon a default, our lenders could proceed against the assets pledged as collateral to secure that indebtedness.

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Our indebtedness may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our indebtedness could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition by, among other things:

 

requiring us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to pay principal and interest on our debt, which would reduce the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, execution of our growth strategy and other general corporate purposes;

 

limiting our ability to borrow additional amounts to fund debt service requirements, working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, execution of our growth strategy and other general corporate purposes;

 

making us more vulnerable to adverse changes in general economic, industry and regulatory conditions and in our business by limiting our flexibility in planning for, and making it more difficult to react quickly to, changing conditions;

 

placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared with those of our competitors that have less debt and lower debt service requirements;

 

making us more vulnerable to increases in interest rates since some of our indebtedness is subject to variable rates of interest; and

 

making it more difficult for us to satisfy our financial obligations.

In addition, we may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow from our operations to repay our outstanding indebtedness when it becomes due and to meet our other cash needs or to comply with the financial covenants set forth therein. If we are not able to pay our debts as they become due, we could be in default of the Amended Credit Facility or other indebtedness. We might also be required to pursue one or more alternative strategies to repay indebtedness, such as selling assets, refinancing or restructuring our indebtedness or selling additional debt or equity securities. We may not be able to refinance our debt or sell additional debt or equity securities or our assets on favorable terms, if at all, and if we must sell assets, it may negatively affect our ability to generate revenues.

Much of our intellectual property consists of trade secrets and know-how that is very difficult to protect. If we experience loss of protection for our trade secrets or know-how, our business would be substantially harmed.

We have a variety of intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks and copyrights, but much of our most important intellectual property rights consists of trade secrets and know-how and effective intellectual property protection may be unavailable, limited or outside the scope of the intellectual property rights we pursue in the United States and in foreign countries such as China where we operate. Although we strive to protect our intellectual property rights, there is always a risk that our trade secrets or know-how will be compromised or that a competitor could lawfully reverse-engineer our technology or independently develop similar or more efficient technology. We have confidentiality agreements with each of our customers, suppliers, key employees and independent contractors in place to protect our intellectual property rights, but it is possible that a customer, supplier, employee or contractor might breach the agreement, intentionally or unintentionally. For example, we believe a key former employee may have shared some of our intellectual property with a competitor in China and this former employee or the competitor may use this intellectual property to compete with us in the future. It is also possible that our confidentiality agreements with customers, suppliers, employees and contractors will not be effective in preserving the confidential nature of our intellectual property rights. The patents we own could be challenged, invalidated, narrowed or circumvented by others and may not be of sufficient scope or strength to provide us with any meaningful protection or commercial advantage. Once our patents expire, or if they are invalidated, narrowed or circumvented, our competitors may be able to utilize the inventions protected by our patents. Additionally, the existence of our intellectual property rights does not guarantee that we will be successful in any attempt to enforce these rights against third parties in the event of infringement, misappropriation or other misuse, which may materially and adversely affect our business. Because our ability to effectively compete in our industry depends upon our ability to protect our proprietary technology, we might lose business to competitors and our business, revenue, operating results and prospects could be materially harmed if we suffer loss of trade secret and know-how protection or breach of our confidentiality agreements.

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If the transfer pricing arrangements we have among our subsidiaries are determined to be inappropriate in one or more jurisdictions, our tax liability may increase.

In many countries, including the United States, we are subject to transfer pricing and other tax regulations designed to ensure that appropriate levels of income are reported as earned in each jurisdiction in which we operate. These regulations require that any international transaction involving associated enterprises be on substantially the same basis as a transaction between unrelated companies dealing at arms’ length and that contemporaneous documentation be maintained to support the transfer prices. We have transfer pricing arrangements among our subsidiaries in relation to various aspects of our business. We consider the transactions among our subsidiaries to be substantially on arm’s-length terms. If, however, a tax authority in any jurisdiction reviews any of our tax returns and determines that the transfer prices and terms we have applied are not appropriate, or that other income of our affiliates should be taxed in that jurisdiction, we may incur increased tax liability, including accrued interest and penalties, which would cause our tax provision to increase, possibly materially. In addition, if the jurisdiction from which the income is reallocated does not agree with the reallocation, both jurisdictions could tax the same income, resulting in double taxation. If tax authorities were to allocate income to a higher tax jurisdiction, subject our income to double taxation, or assess interest and penalties, it would increase our consolidated tax liability, which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our insurance coverage may not cover all risks we face and insurance premiums may increase, which may hinder our ability to maintain sufficient coverage to cover losses we may incur.

We are exposed to risks inherent in the manufacturing of wind blades and other composite structures as well as the construction of our facilities, such as natural disasters, breakdowns and manufacturing defects that could harm persons and damage property. We maintain insurance coverage with licensed insurance carriers that limits our aggregate exposure to certain types of catastrophic losses. In addition, we self-insure for a portion of our claims exposure resulting from workers’ compensation and certain events of general liability. We accrue currently for estimated incurred losses and expenses, and periodically evaluate and adjust our claims accrued liability amount to reflect our experience. However, our insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover the full amount of potential losses. In addition, there are some types of losses such as from warranty, hurricanes, terrorism, wars, or earthquakes where insurance is limited and/or not economically justifiable. If we were to sustain a serious uninsured loss or a loss exceeding the limits of our insurance policies, the resulting costs could have a material adverse effect on our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition. Further, our insurance policies provide for our premiums to be adjusted annually. If the premiums we pay for our policies increase significantly, we may be unable to maintain the same level of coverage we currently carry, or we will incur significantly greater costs to maintain the same level of coverage, including through higher deductibles.

We may be subject to significant liabilities and costs relating to environmental and health and safety requirements.

We are subject to various environmental, health and safety laws, regulations and permit requirements in the jurisdictions in which we operate governing, among other things, health, safety, pollution and protection of the environment and natural resources, the handling and use of hazardous substances, the generation, storage, treatment and disposal of wastes, and the cleanup of any contaminated sites. We have incurred, and expect to continue to incur, capital and operating expenditures to comply with such laws, regulations and permit requirements. While we believe that we currently are in material compliance with all such laws, regulations and permit requirements, any noncompliance may subject us to a range of enforcement measures, including the imposition of monetary fines and penalties, other civil or criminal sanctions, remedial obligations, and the issuance of compliance requirements restricting our operations. In addition, the future adoption of more stringent laws, regulations and permit requirements may require us to make additional capital and operating expenditures. Under certain environmental laws and regulations, liabilities also can be imposed for cleanup of currently and formerly owned, leased or operated properties, or properties to which we sent hazardous substances or wastes, regardless of whether we directly caused the contamination or violated any law. For example, we could have future liability relating to any contamination that remains from historic industrial operations by others at our properties. Additionally, some of our facilities have a long history of industrial operations and, in the past, contaminants have been detected and remediated at our Turkey facility.

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There can be no assurance that we will not in the future become subject to compliance requirements, obligations to undertake cleanup or related activities, or claims or proceedings relating to environmental, health or safety matters, hazardous substances or wastes, contaminated sites, or other environmental or natural resource damages, that could impose significant liabilities and costs on us and materially harm our business, operating results or financial condition.

Claims that we infringe, misappropriate or otherwise misuse the intellectual property rights of others could subject us to significant liability and disrupt our business.

Our competitors and third party suppliers of components and raw materials used in our products protect their intellectual property rights by means such as trade secrets and patents. In the future we may be sued for violations of other parties’ intellectual property rights, and the risk of this type of lawsuit will likely increase as our size, geographic presence and market share expand and as the number of competitors in our market increases. Any such claims or litigation, whether meritorious or not, could:

 

be time-consuming and expensive to defend;

 

divert the attention of our technical and managerial resources;

 

adversely affect our relationships with current or future customers;

 

require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements with third parties, which may not be available on terms that we deem acceptable;

 

prevent us from operating all or a portion of our business or force us to redesign our manufacturing processes or products, which could be difficult, time-consuming and expensive;

 

limit the supply or increase the cost of key raw materials and components used in our products;

 

subject us to significant liability for damages or result in significant settlement payments; and

 

require us to indemnify our customers or suppliers.

Any of the foregoing could disrupt our business and materially harm our operating results and financial condition. In addition, intellectual property disputes have in the past arisen between our customers which negatively affected such customers’ demand for wind blades manufactured by us. If such intellectual property disputes involving, or between, one or more of our customers should arise in the future, our business could be materially harmed.

We may form joint ventures, or acquire businesses or assets, in the future, and we may not realize the benefits of those transactions.

We have, in the past, entered into joint ventures with third parties for the manufacture of wind blades. For example, we entered into joint ventures with third parties in both our Mexico and Turkey locations. We may create new or additional joint ventures with third parties, or acquire businesses or assets, in the future that we believe will complement or augment our existing business. We cannot assure you that, following any such joint venture or acquisition, we will achieve the expected synergies to justify the transaction. We may encounter numerous difficulties in manufacturing any new products resulting from a joint venture or acquisition that delay or prevent us from realizing their expected benefits or enhancing our business. If we enter into joint ventures or acquire businesses or assets with respect to promising markets, we may not be able to realize the benefit of those joint ventures or acquired businesses assets if we are unable to successfully integrate them with our existing operations and company culture.

Work disruptions resulting from our collective bargaining agreements could result in increased operating costs and materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Certain of our employees in Turkey, which represented approximately 17% of our workforce as of December 31, 2016, are covered by collective bargaining arrangements, which we entered into in May 2016 and has a three-year term. We expect that this agreement will result in an average increase in pay of approximately 20% for

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employees covered by the agreement. Additionally, our other employees working at other manufacturing facilities may vote to be represented by a labor union in the future. For example, our employees in Iowa attempted unsuccessfully to unionize in 2013. There can be no assurance that we will not experience labor disruptions such as work stoppages or other slowdowns by workers at any of our facilities. Should significant industrial action, threats of strikes or related disturbances occur, we could experience a disruption of operations and increased labor costs in Turkey or other locations, which could materially harm our business, operating results or financial condition. Any such work stoppage or slow-down at any of our facilities could also result in additional expenses and possible loss of revenue for us.

Our information technology infrastructure could experience serious failures or disruptions, the failure of which could materially harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Information technology is part of our business strategy and operations. It enables us to streamline operation processes, facilitating the collection and reporting of business data, in addition to internal and external communications. There are risks that information technology system failures, network disruptions and breaches of data security could disrupt our operations. Any significant disruption or breach may materially harm our business, operating results or financial condition.

We will incur significant increased costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management will be required to devote substantial time to compliance initiatives.

As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and NASDAQ, impose various requirements on public companies, including requiring establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting and changes in corporate governance practices. Our management and other personnel will need to devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives. Moreover, these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, we expect these rules and regulations to make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance. We estimate that we will incur approximately $2.5 million to $3.0 million in expenses annually in response to these requirements.

 

Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires annual management assessments of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, starting with the second annual report that we file with the SEC. However, as long as we remain an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the JOBS Act), we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We will take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company and will incur additional expense and time related to these efforts at that time. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenues of $1.0 billion or more; (ii) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the completion of our IPO; (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years; or (iv) the date on which we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under SEC rules.

Our testing, or the subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm, may reveal deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses. Our management and other personnel will need to devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives, diverting their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business, and we may not successfully or efficiently manage our transition into a public company. We will also need to upgrade our systems, implement additional financial and management controls, reporting systems and procedures, hire an internal audit group and additional accounting, auditing and financial staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge. We have significant operations in China, Mexico and Turkey and may have difficulty hiring and retaining employees in these countries who have the experience necessary to implement the kind of management and financial controls that are expected of a U.S. public company. In this regard, for example, China has only recently begun to adopt management and financial reporting concepts and practices like those in the United

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States. If we are not able to comply with these requirements in a timely manner or if we or our independent registered public accounting firm identify deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses, the market price of our stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by NASDAQ, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources.

We are faced with increasingly complex tax issues in many jurisdictions, and we could be obligated to pay additional taxes in various jurisdictions.

We may be subject to taxation in many jurisdictions in the United States and around the world with increasingly complex tax laws, the application of which can be uncertain. The amount of taxes we pay in these jurisdictions could increase substantially as a result of changes in the applicable tax laws, including increased tax rates or revised interpretations of existing tax laws and precedents, which could harm our liquidity and operating results. In addition, the taxing authorities in these jurisdictions could review our tax returns, or authorities in jurisdictions in which we do not file tax returns could assert that we are subject to tax in those jurisdictions, and in either case could impose additional tax, interest and penalties. Further, the authorities could claim that various withholding requirements apply to us or our subsidiaries or assert that benefits of tax treaties are not available to us or our subsidiaries, any of which could have a material adverse impact on us and the results of our operations.

The current U.S. presidential administration has made public statements indicating that it has made tax reform a priority, and key members of the U.S. Congress have conducted hearings and proposed a wide variety of potential changes. Certain changes to U.S. tax laws, including border adjustable tax provisions as well as limitations on the ability to defer U.S. taxation on earnings outside of the United States until those earnings are repatriated to the United States, could affect the tax treatment of our foreign earnings, as well as cash and cash equivalent balances we currently maintain outside of the United States.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

An active, liquid trading market may not develop.

Before the IPO, there was no public market for shares of our common stock. An active and liquid trading market may not develop following our IPO, if developed, may not be sustained. The lack of an active and liquid market may impair your ability to sell your shares of common stock at the time you wish to sell them or at a price that you consider reasonable. The lack of an active and liquid market may also reduce the market value and increase the volatility of your shares of common stock. In addition, an inactive and illiquid market may impair our ability to raise capital by selling shares of common stock and may impair our ability to acquire other business or assets by using shares of our common stock as consideration.

The price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially and your investment may decline in value.

The market price of our common stock is likely to be highly volatile and may fluctuate substantially due to many factors, including:

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our results of operations;

 

our ability to provide products due to shipments subject to delayed delivery and deferred revenue arrangements;

 

loss of or changes in our relationship with one or more of our customers;

 

failure to meet our earnings estimates;

 

conditions and trends in the energy and manufacturing markets in which we operate and changes in estimates of the size and growth rate of these markets;

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts, developments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships or divestitures;

 

availability of equipment, labor and other items required for the manufacture of wind blades;

36


 

changes in governmental policies;

 

additions or departures of members of our senior management or other key personnel;

 

changes in market valuation or earnings of our competitors;

 

sales of our common stock, including sales of our common stock by our directors and officers or by our other principal stockholders;

 

the trading volume of our common stock; and

 

general market and economic conditions.

In addition, the stock market in general, including NASDAQ, as well as the market for broader energy and renewable energy companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of particular companies affected. These broad market and industry factors may materially harm the market price of our common stock, regardless of our operating performance. In the past, securities class-action litigation has often been instituted against a company following periods of volatility in the market price of that company’s securities. Securities class-action litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs or damages and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could materially harm our business and operating results.

A significant portion of our total outstanding shares may be sold into the public market in future sales, which could cause the market price of our common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time after the expiration of the lock-up agreements which expired on January 17, 2017. These sales, or the market perception that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could reduce the market price of our common stock. As of December 31, 2016, we had 33,736,863 shares of common stock outstanding, inclusive of the underwriters’ exercise of their option to purchase additional shares. All shares can now be sold, subject to any applicable volume limitations under federal securities laws.

In addition, as of December 31, 2016, there were: (i) 160,424 shares subject to outstanding common stock warrants, or approximately 0.5% of our outstanding shares; (ii) 3,331,418 shares subject to outstanding options, or approximately 9.9% of our outstanding shares; (iii) 636,120 restricted stock units, or approximately 1.9% of our outstanding shares; and (iv) 3,587,692 shares reserved for future issuance, or approximately 10.6% of our outstanding shares under the Amended and Restated 2015 Stock Option and Incentive Plan (the 2015 Plan) that will become eligible for sale in the public market to the extent permitted by any applicable vesting requirements and Rules 144 and 701 under the Securities Act. Moreover, holders of an aggregate of 27,247,725 shares of our common stock, have rights, subject to some conditions, to require us to file registration statements covering their shares or to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other stockholders. We also intend to register all shares of common stock that we may issue under our employee equity incentive plans. Once we register these shares, they can be freely sold in the public market upon issuance and subject to the restrictions imposed on our affiliates under Rule 144.

In the future, we may also issue our securities in connection with investments or acquisitions. The amount of shares of our common stock issued in connection with an investment or acquisition could constitute a material portion of our then-outstanding shares of our common stock. Any issuance of additional securities in connection with investments or acquisitions may result in additional dilution to you and may cause the market price of our common stock to drop significantly.

The exercise of options and warrants and other issuances of shares of common stock or securities convertible into common stock under our equity compensation plans will dilute your interest.

Under our existing equity compensation plans, as of December 31, 2016, we had outstanding options to purchase 3,331,418 shares of our common stock and 636,120 restricted stock units to our employees and non-employee directors. From time to time, we expect to grant additional options and other stock awards in accordance with the 2015 Plan. The exercise of options and warrants at prices below the market price of our common stock

37


could adversely affect the price of shares of our common stock. Additionally, any issuance of our common stock that is not made solely to then-existing stockholders proportionate to their interests, such as in the case of a stock dividend or stock split, will result in dilution to each stockholder by reducing their percentage ownership of the total outstanding shares. If we issue options or warrants to purchase our common stock in the future and those options or warrants are exercised or we issue stock, stockholders may experience further dilution.

Our executive officers, directors and their affiliated entities will continue to have substantial control over us and could limit the ability of other stockholders to influence the outcome of key transactions, including changes of control.

Our executive officers, directors and their affiliated entities, in the aggregate, beneficially own approximately 82% of the outstanding common stock, based on 33,736,863 shares of common stock outstanding as of February 28, 2017. Our executive officers, directors and their affiliated entities, if acting together, will be able to control or significantly influence all matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including the election of directors and the approval of mergers or other significant corporate transactions. In addition, certain of our stockholders are affiliated with certain of our customers. These stockholders might have interests that differ from yours, and they might vote in a way with which you disagree and that could be adverse to your interests. The concentration of common stock ownership could have the effect of delaying, preventing, or deterring a change of control of our company, could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company, and could negatively affect the market price of the common stock.

If equity research analysts issue unfavorable commentary or downgrade our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline.

The trading market for our common stock relies in part on the research and reports that equity research analysts publish about us and our business. We do not control the work performed by these analysts. The demand for our common stock could decline if one or more equity analysts downgrade our stock or if those analysts issue unfavorable or inaccurate commentary. If such analysts cease publishing reports about us or our business, we could lose visibility in the market, which in turn could cause our share price and trading volume to decline.

We do not currently intend to pay dividends on the common stock, which may hinder your ability to achieve a return on your investment.

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. The continued operation and expansion of our business will require substantial funding and thus we currently intend to retain any future earnings and do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. Accordingly, you are not likely to receive any dividends on common stock in the foreseeable future, and your ability to achieve a return on your investment will therefore depend on appreciation in the price of the common stock.

Provisions of Delaware law or our charter documents could delay or prevent an acquisition of our company, even if the acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders, and could make it more difficult for you to change management.

Provisions of Delaware law and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated by-laws may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions may also prevent or delay attempts by stockholders to replace or remove our current management or members of our board of directors. These provisions include:

 

a classified board of directors;

 

limitations on the removal of directors;

 

advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals and nominations;

 

the inability of stockholders to act by written consent or to call special meetings;

38


 

the ability of our board of directors to make, alter or repeal our amended and restated by-laws; and

 

the authority of our board of directors to issue preferred stock with such terms as our board of directors may determine.

The affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% of our shares of capital stock entitled to vote, and not less than 75% of the outstanding shares of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class, is necessary to amend or repeal the above provisions that are contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. In addition, absent approval of our board of directors, our amended and restated by-laws may only be amended or repealed by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% of our shares of capital stock entitled to vote.

In addition, we are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which limits business combination transactions with stockholders of 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock that our board of directors has not approved. These provisions and other similar provisions make it more difficult for stockholders or potential acquirers to acquire us without negotiation. These provisions may apply even if some stockholders may consider the transaction beneficial to them.

As a result, these provisions could limit the price that investors are willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock. These provisions might also discourage a potential acquisition proposal or tender offer, even if the acquisition proposal or tender offer is at a premium over the then current market price for our common stock.

We are an “emerging growth company” and will be able to avail ourselves of reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies, which could make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and shareholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We cannot predict whether investors will find our common stock less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If they do, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenues of $1.0 billion or more; (ii) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the completion of our IPO; (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years; or (iv) the date on which we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under the rules of the SEC.

Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can also delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we are subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

39


Item 2. Properties

Our headquarters is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and we own or lease various other facilities in the United States, China, Mexico and Turkey. We believe that our properties are generally in good condition, are well maintained and are generally suitable and adequate to carry out our business at expected capacity for the foreseeable future. The table below lists the locations and square footage for our facilities as of February 28, 2017:

 

 

 

Year

 

Leased or

 

Approximate

 

 

 

Location

 

Commenced

 

Owned

 

Square Footage

 

 

Description of Use

Newton, IA, United States

 

2008

 

Leased

 

 

337,922

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Dafeng, China

 

2013

 

Leased

 

 

392,000

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Dafeng, China

 

2015

 

Leased

 

 

446,034

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Taicang Port, China

 

2007

 

Owned

 

 

226,542

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Juárez, Mexico

 

2013

 

Leased

 

 

345,984

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Juárez, Mexico

 

2016

 

Leased

 

 

358,796

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Juárez, Mexico

 

2017

 

Leased

 

 

339,386

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Izmir, Turkey

 

2012

 

Leased

 

 

343,000

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Izmir, Turkey

 

2015

 

Leased

 

 

397,931

 

 

Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Fall River, MA, United States

 

2008

 

Leased

 

 

70,000

 

 

Composite Solution Manufacturing and Research and Development Facility

Warren, RI, United States

 

2004

 

Leased

 

 

91,387

 

 

Precision Molding Development and Manufacturing and Research and Development Facility

Santa Teresa, NM, United States

 

2014

 

Leased

 

 

503,710

 

 

Wind Blade Storage Facility

Scottsdale, AZ, United States

 

2015

 

Leased

 

 

20,964

 

 

Corporate Headquarters

Taicang Port, China

 

2014

 

Leased

 

 

80,730

 

 

Component Manufacturing Facility

Taicang City, China

 

2013

 

Leased

 

 

69,750

 

 

Precision Molding Manufacturing Facility

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

From time to time, we may be involved in disputes or litigation relating to claims arising out of our operations.

In March 2015, a complaint was filed against the Company in the Superior Court of the State of Arizona (Maricopa County) by a former employee of the Company, alleging that the Company had agreed to make certain cash payments to such employee upon any future sale of the Company. We filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in April 2015, which was denied. We subsequently filed an answer to the complaint in July 2015 denying the substantive allegations of the complaint. The parties completed court-ordered mediation in December 2015 but were not able to reach a settlement. We filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint in April 2016 and the court denied our motion in August 2016. The court set a trial date for September 2017. We continue to deny the substantive allegations of the complaint and we intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit; however, we are currently unable to determine the ultimate outcome of this case.

In August 2015, we entered into a transition agreement with our former Senior Vice President – Asia, pursuant to which he transitioned out of this role at the end of 2015 and was to serve in a consulting capacity in 2016 and 2017. In January 2016, following our discovery that he had materially violated the terms of his transition agreement, we terminated his consultancy for cause. In April 2016, he filed an arbitration claim in China with the Taicang Labor and Personnel Dispute Arbitration Committee alleging that we improperly terminated his transition agreement. He is demanding that we continue to honor the terms of the transition agreement and pay him compensation and fees owed to him under the transition agreement, which in the aggregate total approximately $2.6 million. In addition, he is also challenging the validity of our termination of his option to purchase 164,880 shares of our common stock and 77,760 restricted stock units under the 2015 Plan, which were canceled in January 2016 when we terminated his consultancy. We believe that our termination of his transition agreement was valid and we intend to vigorously defend this matter.

40


Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

41


PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information

On July 22, 2016, our common stock began trading on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “TPIC.” Prior to that time, there was no public market for our stock. The following table sets forth the high and low intra-day per share sale prices for our common stock for the periods indicated, as reported by NASDAQ.

 

 

 

2016

 

 

 

High

 

 

Low

 

Third Quarter (July 22, 2016 - September 30, 2016)

 

$

22.72

 

 

$

11.31

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

23.30

 

 

$

13.27

 

 

Stock Performance Graph

The following graph and table illustrate the total shareholder return from July 22, 2016 through December 30, 2016, on our common stock, the Russell 2000 Index, the S&P Small Cap 600 Energy (Sector) Index and the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index, assuming an investment of $100.00 on July 22, 2016 including the reinvestment of dividends

 

 

 

Base Period

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7/22/16

 

 

9/30/16

 

 

12/30/16

 

TPI Composites, Inc.

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

156.78

 

 

$

118.29

 

Russell 2000

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

103.20

 

 

$

111.89

 

S&P Small Cap 600 Energy (Sector)

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

115.32

 

 

$

133.11

 

NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

100.33

 

 

$

102.59

 

Holders

As of February 28, 2017, there were 13 shareholders of record of our common stock, although there is a much larger number of beneficial owners.

Dividends

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on shares of our capital stock. We currently intend to retain earnings, if any, to finance the development and growth of our business and do not anticipate paying cash dividends on the common stock in the future. Any payment of any future dividends will be at the discretion of the board of directors, subject to compliance with certain covenants in our loan agreements, after taking into account various factors, including our financial condition, operating results, capital requirements, restrictions contained in any future financing instruments, growth plans and other factors the board deems relevant. See “Management’s

42


Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Liquidity and Capital Resources” included in Part II, Item 7.

Certain subsidiaries of the Company are limited in their ability to declare dividends without first meeting statutory restrictions of the People’s Republic of China, including retained earnings as determined under Chinese-statutory accounting requirements. Until 50% ($5.2 million) of registered capital is contributed to a surplus reserve, our Chinese operations can only pay dividends equal to 90% of after-tax profits (10% must be contributed to the surplus reserve). Once the surplus reserve fund requirement is met, we can pay dividends equal to 100% of after-tax profit assuming other conditions are met. At December 31, 2016, the amount of the surplus reserve fund was $4.4 million. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations— Liquidity and Capital Resources” included in Part II, Item 7.

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

The information required in response to Item 201(d) of Regulation S-K is set forth in Part III, Item 12 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K which is incorporated herein by reference.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None

Use of Proceeds from Registered Securities

On July 21, 2016, our Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-212093) was declared effective by the SEC for our IPO whereby we registered an aggregate of 7,187,500 shares of our common stock, including 937,500 shares of our common stock registered for sale by us upon the full exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares. On July 27, 2016, we completed our IPO and sold 7,187,500 shares of our common stock at a price to the public of $11.00 per share. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as the managing underwriters. The total gross proceeds from the offering to us were $79.1 million. After deducting underwriting discounts and commissions of $4.6 million and offering expenses of $7.3 million, we received $67.2 million in net proceeds. There has been no material change in the planned use of proceeds from our IPO as described in our final prospectus filed with the SEC on July 22, 2016 pursuant to Rule 424(b) of the Securities Act. We invested the remaining funds received in registered money market funds.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

None


43


Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following selected consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected in the future. The selected consolidated financial and other data in this section are not intended to replace the consolidated financial statements and are qualified in their entirety by the consolidated financial statements and related notes to consolidated financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in Part II, Item 7 and the consolidated financial statements and related notes included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other financial information included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

 

(in thousands, except per share data)

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations

   Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

754,877

 

 

$

585,852

 

 

$

320,747

 

 

$

215,054

 

Cost of sales

 

 

659,745

 

 

 

528,247

 

 

 

289,528

 

 

 

200,182

 

Startup and transition costs

 

 

18,127

 

 

 

15,860

 

 

 

16,567

 

 

 

6,607

 

Total cost of goods sold

 

 

677,872

 

 

 

544,107

 

 

 

306,095

 

 

 

206,789

 

Gross profit

 

 

77,005

 

 

 

41,745

 

 

 

14,652

 

 

 

8,265

 

General and administrative expenses

 

 

33,892

 

 

 

14,126

 

 

 

9,175

 

 

 

7,566

 

Income from operations

 

 

43,113

 

 

 

27,619

 

 

 

5,477

 

 

 

699

 

Other income (expense):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest income

 

 

344

 

 

 

161

 

 

 

186

 

 

 

155

 

Interest expense

 

 

(17,614

)

 

 

(14,565

)

 

 

(7,236

)

 

 

(3,474

)

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

(4,487

)

 

 

 

 

 

(2,946

)

 

 

 

Realized loss on foreign currency

   remeasurement

 

 

(757

)

 

 

(1,802

)

 

 

(1,743

)

 

 

(1,892

)

Miscellaneous income

 

 

238

 

 

 

246

 

 

 

539

 

 

 

140

 

Total other expense

 

 

(22,276

)

 

 

(15,960

)

 

 

(11,200

)

 

 

(5,071

)

Income (loss) before income taxes

 

 

20,837

 

 

 

11,659

 

 

 

(5,723

)

 

 

(4,372

)

Income tax benefit (provision)

 

 

(6,995

)

 

 

(3,977

)

 

 

(925

)

 

 

3,346

 

Net income (loss) before

   noncontrolling interest

 

 

13,842

 

 

 

7,682

 

 

 

(6,648

)

 

 

(1,026

)

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling

   interest(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,305

 

Net income (loss)

 

 

13,842

 

 

 

7,682

 

 

 

(6,648

)

 

 

1,279

 

Net income attributable to preferred

   shareholders(2)

 

 

5,471

 

 

 

9,423

 

 

 

13,930

 

 

 

14,149

 

Net income (loss) attributable to

   common shareholders

 

$

8,371

 

 

$

(1,741

)

 

$

(20,578

)

 

$

(12,870

)

Weighted-average common shares

   outstanding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic(3)

 

 

17,530

 

 

 

4,238

 

 

 

4,238

 

 

 

4,238

 

Diluted(3)

 

 

17,616

 

 

 

4,238

 

 

 

4,238

 

 

 

4,238

 

Net income (loss) per common share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

0.48

 

 

$

(0.41

)

 

$

(4.86

)

 

$

(3.04

)

Diluted

 

$

0.48

 

 

$

(0.41

)

 

$

(4.86

)

 

$

(3.04

)

44


 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

 

(in thousands, except other operating information)

 

Other Financial Information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total billings(4)

 

$

764,424

 

 

$

600,107

 

 

$

362,749

 

 

$

221,057

 

EBITDA(4)

 

$

55,491

 

 

$

37,479

 

 

$

8,768

 

 

$

6,502

 

Adjusted EBITDA(4)

 

$

66,150

 

 

$

39,281

 

 

$

13,457

 

 

$

8,430

 

Capital expenditures

 

$

30,507

 

 

$

26,361

 

 

$

18,924

 

 

$

7,065

 

Total debt, net of debt issuance costs and discount

 

$

123,155

 

 

$

129,346

 

 

$

120,849

 

 

$

36,562

 

Net debt(4)

 

$

6,379

 

 

$

90,667

 

 

$

87,547

 

 

$

26,590

 

Other Operating Information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sets(5)

 

 

2,154

 

 

 

1,609

 

 

 

966

 

 

 

648

 

Estimated megawatts(6)

 

 

4,920

 

 

 

3,595

 

 

 

2,029

 

 

 

1,173

 

Dedicated manufacturing lines(7)

 

 

43

 

 

 

34

 

 

 

29

 

 

 

16

 

Total manufacturing lines installed(8)

 

 

33

 

 

 

30

 

 

 

22

 

 

 

14

 

Manufacturing lines in startup(9)

 

 

3

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

2

 

Manufacturing lines in transition(10)

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

2

 

 

(1)

In 2012, we commenced operations in Turkey as a 75% owner of those operations and in 2013, we became the sole owner with the acquisition of the remaining 25% interest.

(2)

Represents the accrual of dividends on our convertible and senior redeemable preferred shares, the accretion to redemption amounts on our convertible preferred shares and warrant fair value adjustments. Immediately prior to the closing of the IPO, all preferred shares were converted into shares of our common stock and as a result, the accrual of dividends ceased.  

(3)

For the year ended December 31, 2016, the weighted-average diluted shares outstanding include the conversion on a net issuance basis of our common warrants and the stock options issued under the 2008 Stock Option and Grant Plan. For the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, the weighted-average common shares outstanding are the same under the basic and diluted per share calculations since we had a net loss in each period presented.

(4)

See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Metrics Used By Management to Measure Performance” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information and the reconciliations of total billings, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA and net debt to net sales, net income (loss), net income (loss) and total debt, net of debt issuance costs and discount, respectively, the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP.

(5)

Number of wind blade sets (which consist of three wind blades) invoiced worldwide in the period. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Metrics Used By Management to Measure Performance” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.

(6)

Estimated megawatts of energy capacity to be generated by wind blade sets invoiced in the period. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Metrics Used By Management to Measure Performance” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.

(7)

Number of manufacturing lines that are dedicated to our customers under long-term supply agreements. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Metrics Used By Management to Measure Performance” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information. Dedicated manufacturing lines may be greater than total manufacturing line capacity in instances where we have signed new supply agreements for manufacturing facilities that are under construction or have not yet been built.

45


(8)

Number of manufacturing lines installed and either in operation, startup or transition. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Metrics Used By Management to Measure Performance” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.

(9)

Number of manufacturing lines in a startup phase during the pre-production and production ramp-up periods. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Metrics Used By Management to Measure Performance” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.

(10)

Number of manufacturing lines that were being transitioned to a new wind blade model during the period. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Metrics Used By Management to Measure Performance” included in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information.

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

119,066

 

 

$

45,917

 

 

$

43,592

 

Total assets

 

 

437,206

 

 

 

329,920

 

 

 

273,704

 

Total debt

 

 

123,155

 

 

 

129,346

 

 

 

120,849

 

Total liabilities

 

 

330,699

 

 

 

322,287

 

 

 

271,448

 

Total convertible and senior redeemable

   preferred shares and warrants

 

 

 

 

 

198,830

 

 

 

189,349

 

Total shareholders’ equity (deficit)

 

 

106,507

 

 

 

(191,197

)

 

 

(187,093

)

 

46


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other financial information appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to plans and strategy for our business and related financing, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those described in or implied by these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those discussed below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly those under “Risk Factors” included in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Dollars in tabular format are presented in thousands, except as otherwise indicated.

OVERVIEW

Our Company

We are the largest U.S.-based independent manufacturer of composite wind blades. We enable many of the industry’s leading wind turbine OEMs, who have historically relied on in-house production, to outsource the manufacturing of some of their wind blades through our global footprint of advanced manufacturing facilities strategically located to serve large and growing wind markets in a cost-effective manner. Given the importance of wind energy capture, turbine reliability and cost to power producers, the size, quality and performance of wind blades have become highly strategic to our OEM customers. As a result, we have become a key supplier to our OEM customers in the manufacture of wind blades and related precision molding and assembly systems. We have entered into long-term supply agreements pursuant to which we dedicate capacity at our facilities to our customers in exchange for their commitment to purchase minimum annual volumes of wind blade sets, which consist of three wind blades. As of February 28, 2017, our long-term supply agreements provide for minimum aggregate volume commitments from our customers of $2.6 billion and encourage our customers to purchase additional volume up to, in the aggregate, a total contract value of up to $3.9 billion through the end of 2023. This collaborative dedicated supplier model provides us with contracted volumes that generate significant revenue visibility, drive capital efficiency and allow us to produce wind blades at a lower total delivered cost, while ensuring critical dedicated capacity for our customers. Our wind blade and precision molding and assembly systems manufacturing businesses accounted for over 99% of our total net sales for each of the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014. In recent years, we have experienced significant growth in our OEM customer base, as according to data from MAKE, our OEM customers collectively accounted for approximately 32% of the global onshore wind energy market and approximately 56% of that market excluding China over the three years ended December 31, 2015, based on MWs of energy capacity installed. Additionally, our customers represented 82% of the U.S. onshore wind turbine market over the three years ended December 31, 2015, based on MWs of energy capacity installed. We believe this figure demonstrates the leading position of our existing OEM customers, as well as our opportunity to develop relationships with new OEM customers as additional OEMs seek to capitalize on the benefits of outsourced wind blade manufacturing while maintaining high quality customization and dedicated capacity. We believe that these trends will help us to strengthen our current customer base, grow our business worldwide, increase our revenue and improve our business prospects.

We divide our business operations into four geographic operating segments—the United States, Asia, Mexico and EMEA, as follows:

 

Our U.S. segment includes (1) the manufacturing of wind blades at our Newton, Iowa plant, (2) the manufacturing of precision molding and assembly systems used for the manufacture of wind blades at our Warren, Rhode Island facility, (3) the manufacturing of composite solutions for the transportation industry, which we also conduct at our Rhode Island and Massachusetts facilities and (4) our corporate headquarters, the costs of which are included in general and administrative expenses.

 

Our Asia segment includes (1) the manufacturing of wind blades at our facility in Taicang Port, China and at our two facilities in Dafeng, China, (2) the manufacturing of precision molding and assembly systems at our Taicang City, China facility, (3) the manufacture of components at our second Taicang Port, China facility and (4) wind blade inspection and repair services.

47


 

Our Mexico segment manufactures wind blades from our three facilities in Juárez, Mexico, one of which commenced operations in 2014, the second during the third quarter of 2016 and the third in January 2017.

 

Our EMEA segment manufactures wind blades from our two facilities in Izmir, Turkey. We entered into a joint venture in 2012 to produce wind blades at our first Turkey plant and in 2013 became the sole owner of the Turkey operation with the acquisition of the remaining 25% interest. Our EMEA segment commenced operations at our second facility during the third quarter of 2016.

Key Trends Affecting our Business

We have identified the following material trends affecting our business:

 

The wind power generation industry has grown rapidly and expanded worldwide over the last five years to meet high global demand for electricity and the expanded use of renewable energy. Our sales of wind blades to our wind turbine customers have grown rapidly over the last several years in response to these trends. In that time, we have entered into long-term supply agreements with customers in the United States, China, Mexico and Turkey with terms extending to 2020, 2019, 2020 and 2023, respectively.

 

During the last several years, wind turbine OEMs have increasingly outsourced the production of wind blades and other key components to specialized manufacturers to meet this increasing global demand for wind energy in a cost-effective manner in new and growing markets. That shift, together with the overall expansion of the wind power generation industry, has increased our addressable market. As a result, we have hired more than 4,500 additional new employees since the beginning of 2014 and have expanded our customer base from one OEM customer to four OEM customers over the last two years in response to the growth and expansion of the wind energy generation industry generally as well as the specific trend of wind turbine OEMs increasing the outsourcing of the manufacturing of wind blades.

 

We expect that a substantial portion of our future revenue growth will be derived from our international operations. We have expanded our manufacturing facilities internationally over the last several years, including opening facilities in China, Mexico and Turkey, to meet the needs of our customers. We recently entered into lease agreements with third parties to lease new manufacturing facilities in Mexico and Turkey, and commenced operations at these new facilities in the third quarter of 2016. We have also entered into a new lease with a third party for a third manufacturing facility in Juárez, Mexico, and we commenced operations at this facility in January 2017. The portion of our net sales that were derived from our international operations increased to 75% for the year ended December 31, 2016 from 74% for the year ended December 31, 2015, 55% for the year ended December 31, 2014 and 25% for the year ended December 31, 2013. We believe we will continue to derive a substantial portion of our future net sales growth from our international operations.

 

Our long-term supply agreements with our customers generally encourage our customers to maximize the volume of wind blades they purchase from us, since purchasing less than a specified amount triggers higher pricing, as well as provide downside protection for us through minimum annual volume commitments. Some of our long-term supply agreements also provide for annual sales price reductions reflecting assumptions regarding increases in our manufacturing productivity. We work to continue to drive down the cost of materials and production through innovation and global sourcing, a portion of the benefit of which we share with our customers contractually, further strengthening our deep customer relationships. Wind blade pricing is based on annual commitments of volume as established in the customer’s contract, with orders less than committed volume resulting in additional costs per wind blade to customers. Orders in excess of annual commitments may but generally do not result in discounts to customers from the contracted price for the committed volume. Customers may utilize early payment discounts, which are reported as a reduction of revenue at the time the discount is taken.

48


 

The long-term supply agreements we sign with our customers provide us with significant visibility of future production demands due in part to the annual minimum purchase commitments of our customers contained in those agreements. These annual minimum purchase commitments generally require our customers to purchase a negotiated percentage of the manufacturing capacity that we have agreed to dedicate to them. Generally, this percentage begins at 100% of the manufacturing capacity that we have dedicated to a particular customer for the first few years of the supply agreement, and the percentage declines over time in subsequent years according to the terms of the agreement, but generally remains above 50%. It is our experience that our customers will generally order wind blades from us in a volume that exceeds (sometimes substantially) the annual minimum purchase commitments contained in our supply agreements, particularly in the later years of a supply agreement when the annual minimum purchase commitment percentage declines. As of February 28, 2017, our long-term supply agreements provide for estimated minimum aggregate purchase commitments from our customers of $2.6 billion and encourage our customers to purchase additional volume up to, in the aggregate, an estimated total contract value of up to $3.9 billion through the end of 2023. As noted elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, some of our long-term supply agreements, including some of those with our largest customer, are subject to termination by our customers on short notice or, in one instance, no advance notice. We caution investors that the annual minimum purchase commitments in our long-term supply agreements can understate the actual net sales that we are likely to generate in a given period or periods if all of our long-term supply agreements remain in place and pricing remains materially unchanged, and they could potentially overstate the actual net sales that we are likely to generate in a given period or periods if one or more of our agreements were to be terminated by our customers for any reason. See “Business—Wind Blade Long-Term Supply Agreements” included in Part 1, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information.

 

We expect our new manufacturing facilities to generate operating losses in their first 12 to 24 months of operations due to startup costs and expenses as they initially operate far below capacity during the pre-production and production ramp up periods. As a result, this generally has a negative impact on our results of operations during these ramp-up periods. These losses include initial operating losses and pre-production expenses such as the selection of the plant site, infrastructure investment, build-out cost, customer qualification and associated legal, regulatory and personnel costs. In addition, construction of new facilities and expansion of existing facilities, including the fabrication of precision molding and assembly systems to outfit those facilities, is complex and involves inherent risks. For planning purposes, we generally estimate that the startup of a new six-line manufacturing facility requires cash for net operating expenses and working capital of between $15 million to $25 million. We also estimate that additional capital expenditures primarily related to machinery and equipment for new facilities or facility expansions of between $15 million and $25 million will be required.

 

We recently commenced operations at new manufacturing facilities in Turkey and Mexico and for the reasons described in the preceding bullet, we believe that over the first 12 to 24 months of operations these facilities are likely to generate operating losses during pre-production and production ramp-up periods, which are likely to have a negative overall effect on our consolidated net income (loss) and adjusted EBITDA. However, over the longer term, and once these new manufacturing facilities and new manufacturing lines are operating at capacity, we expect this expansion in lines, facilities and purchase commitments to have a positive overall effect on our consolidated net income (loss) and adjusted EBITDA in future periods.

 

Changing customer demands, including shifts to bigger wind turbines with larger wind blades, have driven some of our customers to require us to transition to new wind blade models one or two times during the term of a long-term supply agreement. Although we do receive transition payments to compensate us for the costs of the impact of reduced volumes during these transitions, these payments may not always fully cover the transition costs and lost margin. As a result, these transitions have and may continue to have a short-term, negative impact on our consolidated operating results and cash flows. However, our precision molding and assembly manufacturing business increases as we transition to larger wind blade models and larger wind blades generally have a higher average selling price, so that the transition to larger wind blades may increase our net sales over time. As we transition to new wind blade models, we also often extend our existing supply agreements.

49


 

As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and NASDAQ, impose various requirements on public companies, including requiring establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting and changes in corporate governance practices. We estimate that we will incur approximately $2.5 million to $3.0 million in expenses annually in response to these requirements.

COMPONENTS OF RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Net Sales

Net sales reflect sales of our products, including wind blades, precision molding and assembly systems and transportation products, as well as transition revenue received. Several factors affect net sales in any period, including customer demand, wind blade model transitions, general economic conditions and weather conditions. We currently derive an immaterial amount of net sales from our transportation business. Under GAAP, we do not recognize revenue on our wind blade sales until the wind blades have been delivered to our customers. Under our long-term supply agreements with our customers, we invoice our customers for wind blades once the blades pass certain acceptance procedures and title passes to our customers. Our customers generally pay us for the wind blades between 15 to 65 days after receipt of the invoice based on negotiated payment terms. However, in many cases, our customers request that we store their wind blades until they are ready to assemble wind turbines at a particular wind farm project. We have no control over when our customers decide to ship wind blades from our storage sites, and in some cases, our customers have stored large numbers of their wind blades at our sites for six months or more. Even if the customer has paid us for the wind blades and title has passed to the customer, we do not recognize revenue for these wind blades until the wind blades are delivered. Instead, these transactions are recorded as deferred revenue in our consolidated financial statements.

Cost of Goods Sold

Cost of goods sold includes the costs associated with products invoiced during the period as well as unallocated manufacturing overhead costs associated with startup and transition costs. Cost of sales includes all costs incurred at our production facilities to make products saleable, such as raw materials, direct labor and indirect labor and facilities costs, including purchasing and receiving costs, plant management, inspection costs, product engineering and internal transfer costs. In addition, all depreciation associated with assets used to produce composite products and make them saleable is included in cost of sales. Direct labor costs consist of salaries, benefits, share-based compensation and other personnel related costs for employees engaged in the manufacture of our products.

Startup costs represent the unallocated overhead related to both new manufacturing facilities as well as new lines in existing manufacturing facilities. Transition costs represent the unallocated overhead related to the transition of wind blade models at the request of our customers. The startup and transition costs are primarily fixed overhead costs incurred during the period production facilities are under-utilized while transitioning wind blade models and ramping up manufacturing, which are not allocated to products and are expensed as incurred. The cost of sales for the initial wind blades from a new model manufacturing line is generally higher than when the line is operating at optimal production volume levels due to inefficiencies during ramp-up related to labor hours per blade, cycle times per blade and raw material usage. Additionally, manufacturing overhead as a percentage of net sales is generally higher during the period in which a facility is ramping up to full production capacity due to underutilization of the facility. Manufacturing overhead at each of our facilities includes virtually all indirect costs (including share-based compensation costs) incurred at the plants, including engineering, finance, information technology, human resources and plant management.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses are primarily incurred at our corporate headquarters and our research facilities and include salaries, benefits and other personnel related costs for employees engaged in research and development, engineering, finance, information technology, human resources, business development, global operational excellence, global supply chain, in-house legal and executive management. Other costs include outside

50


legal and accounting fees, risk management (insurance), share-based compensation and certain other administrative and global resources costs.

For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, our research and development expenses (included in general and administrative expenses) totaled $1.5 million, $0.9 million and $0.8 million, respectively.

Other Income (Expense)

Other income (expense) consists primarily of interest expense on our credit facilities and the amortization of deferred financing costs and beneficial conversion features related to debt borrowings. Other income (expense) also includes realized gains and losses on foreign currency remeasurement, interest income and miscellaneous income and expense. During the year ended December 31, 2016, we expensed $2.4 million of deferred financing costs and $2.1 million of prepayment penalties related to the refinancing of our previous credit facility. During the year ended December 31, 2014, we incurred a $2.9 million loss on the extinguishment of our senior term loan. This loss included prepayment penalties, an end of term fee and the write off of the remaining debt issuance costs under our previous senior term loan.

Income Tax Benefit (Provision)

Income tax benefit (provision) consists of federal, state, provincial, local and foreign taxes based on income in jurisdictions in which we operate, including in the United States, China, Mexico and Turkey. The composite income tax rate, tax provisions, deferred tax assets and liabilities vary according to the jurisdiction in which the income (loss) arises. Tax laws are complex and subject to different interpretations by management and the respective governmental taxing authorities and require us to exercise judgment in determining our income tax provision, our deferred tax assets and liabilities and the valuation allowance recorded against our net deferred tax assets.

Net Income Attributable to Preferred Shareholders

Net income attributable to preferred shareholders relates to the accrual of dividends on our convertible and senior redeemable preferred shares, the accretion to redemption amounts on our convertible preferred shares and warrant fair value adjustment. Immediately prior to the closing of our IPO, all preferred shares were converted into shares of our common stock and as a result, the accrual of dividends ceased.

KEY METRICS USED BY MANAGEMENT TO MEASURE PERFORMANCE

In addition to measures of financial performance presented in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP, we use certain other financial measures and operating metrics to analyze the performance of our company. These “non-GAAP” financial measures consist of total billings, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA and net debt, which help us evaluate growth trends, establish budgets, assess operational efficiencies, oversee our overall liquidity, and evaluate our overall financial performance. The key operating metrics consist of wind blade sets invoiced, estimated MWs of energy capacity for wind blades invoiced, manufacturing lines dedicated to customers under long-term supply agreements, total manufacturing lines installed, manufacturing lines in startup and manufacturing lines in transition, which help us evaluate our operational performance. We believe that these measures are useful to investors in evaluating our performance.

51


Key Financial Measures

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

Net sales

 

$

754,877

 

 

$

585,852

 

 

$

320,747

 

Total billings(1)

 

$

764,424

 

 

$

600,107

 

 

$

362,749

 

Net income (loss)

 

$

13,842

 

 

$

7,682

 

 

$

(6,648

)

EBITDA(1)

 

$