Conergy Files for Insolvency as Banks Disagree on InvestorNicholas Brautlecht
Conergy AG, once Germany’s largest solar-energy company, filed for insolvency today after one of 10 lenders rejected a short-term plan for an investor to take over loans held by the company.
As payments from a large project are delayed and the company failed to bridge a financial gap, executives submitted the application at the District Court of Hamburg, said Antje Stephan, spokeswoman for Hamburg-based Conergy.
“In the past 15 months we presented to our lenders two concrete proposals for a strategic investor to enter the company, and we greatly regret that in no case they were able to agree on short-term implementation,” Chief Executive Officer Philip Comberg said in a statement.
Conergy and its domestic counterparts are under pressure as subsidies fall at home and amid competition from Chinese solar providers that has depressed margins and panel prices.
The shares fell as much as 71 percent, the most since its March 2005 initial stock sale, and traded down 65 percent at 12 euro cents at 12:55 p.m. in Frankfurt.
Nine of ten lenders had signaled their agreement with the latest plan for a new investor, Conergy said. The company last year had earnings before interest and taxes of 83.8 million euros ($108 million). Conergy plans to continue its search for an investor while the court appoints a bankruptcy adviser.
“The management remains confident of achieving a continuation of the whole business operations,” the company said. The timescale of the insolvency process remained unclear, spokeswoman Stephan said.
Conergy, which had sales of 473.5 million euros last year, employs about 1,200 employees, two-thirds of them in Germany. The company plans, finances and supplies components for solar plants.
Manufacturing units Conergy SolarModule GmbH & Co. KG in Frankfurt an der Oder near the Polish border and Mounting Systems GmbH in Rangsdorf near Berlin will also file for insolvency, as well as Conergy Deutschland GmbH, its sales unit.