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Solar Millennium Drops Most Ever After Insolvency Filing

Solar Millennium AG plunged by a record in Frankfurt trading after becoming the second publicly traded German solar company to file for insolvency.

The shares slumped 59 percent to 45 euro cents, the biggest drop and the lowest price since its listing in 2005. The stock has lost 98 percent this year, reducing market value to 5.6 million euros ($7.3 million).

The filing cited slow progress in selling U.S. projects and a failure to reach an agreement to bring in investors to the Ibersol project in Spain, the company said in a statement.

“Both transactions would have generated funds beyond the current need for liquidity which would have laid the foundation for a further development of the company,” Erlangen-based Solar Millennium said.

Today’s announcement follows a similar move by German solar panel maker Solon SE last week. The country’s solar energy companies, including Q-Cells SE and Conergy AG, are struggling with rising foreign competition including from China as demand ebbs in Germany, the biggest photovoltaic market.

The insolvency administrator, Volker Boehm from law firm Schultze & Braun, went to company headquarters to determine whether business can be maintained, the firm said in a statement today.

Solar Millennium yesterday warned that the sale of its 2,250 megawatt-project pipeline wouldn’t be concluded by year-end. Germany’s Solarhybrid AG had asked Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar Inc., the world’s biggest maker of thin-film panels, to form a joint venture to pursue the deal.

Solar Millennium, which had focused on developing solar-thermal plants in Europe and the U.S., had planned to sell projects including the company’s biggest, the 1-gigawatt plant near Blythe, California.

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