Centrotherm Drops After Bankruptcy Protection: Frankfurt Mover

Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG (CTN), a German solar-equipment maker, fell to a record after it sought bankruptcy protection, joining at least six other local companies that have foundered amid a glut in panels.

Centrotherm collapsed 80 percent to 44.2 euro cents by 9:27 a.m. in Frankfurt trading, the lowest level since it was listed in October 2007. The Blaubeuren-based company submitted an application to the district court in Ulm to begin insolvency protection proceedings. The company will be shielded from creditors for three months while its management tries to restructure, it said in a statement late yesterday.

Centrotherm “continues to be able to manage its operations itself,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Hartung said in a separate statement. “Since we remain solvent, we can both process customer orders to schedule, and also pay our suppliers.”

Solar-cell and panel makers, Centrotherm’s clients, are under pressure after governments in Europe and the U.S. trimmed subsidies, adding to a glut of the devices that has already cut margins at the top five manufacturers. Solar companies in the U.S., Germany and France have foundered in the past year, including Q-Cells SE (QCE), once the biggest solar-cell maker.

Centrotherm will have to cut costs and adjust capacity “to secure our company’s continued existence in the future,” Jan von Schuckmann, a board member responsible for restructuring, said in the statement. “This will allow us to maintain Centrotherm’s competitiveness in a difficult market situation.”

The company sells production lines used to make polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and panels.

To contact the reporters on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.net Natalie Obiko Pearson in Mumbai at npearson7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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