Hanwha of South Korea Wins Creditors’ Backing to Buy Q-Cells

Hanwha Group, a South Korean industrial group, won backing from Q-Cells SE’s creditors to buy what was once the world’s biggest maker of solar cells.

Hanwha will take over most of Q-Cells under an agreement signed Aug. 26 that won backing at a creditor meeting today in Dessau-Rosslau, Germany, according to a Q-Cells statement.

Hanwha will pay as much as 40 million euros ($50 million) in cash for the Thalheim-based company’s plants in Germany and Malaysia, and sales units in the U.S., Australia and Japan, the Korean group said Aug. 27. It will assume 850 million ringgit ($272 million) of debt guaranteed by Q-Cells Malaysia.

In April, Q-Cells filed for protection from creditors, who chose Hanwha over Isofoton SA, a Spanish power plant developer that offered to invest 300 million euros with the Rocket Venture Fund.

The cash part of the sale will depend “on the volume of additional liabilities that will have to be taken over,” Q-Cells said in the statement. Hanwha will take on 1,250 employees of the company’s 1,550 global workforce, Q-Cells said.

Q-Cells’s shareholders will receive neither dividends nor other benefits from the proceeds of the sale, the company said. Q-Cells dropped 26 percent, the most in almost five months, to 11.2 euro cents a share at the close in Frankfurt today, giving it a market value of 20 million euros.

Buying Q-Cells would give Hanwha the world’s third-largest output capacity for cells and panels, the company said Aug. 27. It said it plans to sign a final deal in October.

German solar companies are facing lower government aid and rising competition from China that has created a global glut of panels. Q-Cells and German peers Solon SE, Solar Millennium AG and Solarhybrid AG are among at least 15 producers that have filed for protection from creditors in the past year.

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