Less than two years after Clipper Windpower was purchased by defense-industrial giant United Technologies Corp., the Carpinteria-based turbine maker is up for sale again.
United Technologies, the name behind Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Sikorsky helicopters, bought Clipper in 2010 as the company was struggling to keep its cash flowing. The defense giant paid about $318 million for Clipper in a two-stage deal.
On March 15, United Technologies said that Clipper is among a handful of businesses that it hopes to sell to help finance its planned $16.5 billion acquisition of aircraft parts maker Goodrich. United Technologies said it’s auctioning off its non-core businesses to avoid issuing new stock and diluting its existing shareholders.
Clipper makes some of the world’s largest land-based wind energy turbines. The company maintains engineering and business headquarters on the South Coast and had about 200 employees there as of 2010. It also maintains a manufacturing facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that at one time had nearly 600 employees.
A Clipper spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.
United Technologies purchased Clipper in late 2010 as the company reeled from slow turbine sales and high costs. United Technologies first invested $206 million for a 49.5 percent stake in the turbine maker, with a stand-still provision preventing it from taking control until at least 2012. But also included in the deal was a trigger. If Clipper burned through three quarters of the United Technologies cash, the defense giant had the right to buy Clipper. Less than a year later, Clipper tripped the trigger. United Technologies bought the remainder of the firm for $112 million.
At the time, Clipper CEO Mauricio Quintana, a United Technologies veteran who took the helm after the multinational’s first investment, told the Business Times the acquisition would have little affect on Clipper’s 200 South Coast employees.
“I don’t foresee anything changing,” Quintana said in October 2010. “UTC has acquired Clipper because it likes Clipper, because it wants to grow it, not because it wants to destroy it, for lack of a better word.”