SolarWorld seeks to refinance debt mountain

25. January 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Investor news, Markets & Trends, Top News | By:  Max Hall

SolarWorld AG, Germany's leading solar panel producer and the manufacturer most active in petitioning the EU and U.S. authorities to bring anti-dumping duties against Chinese imports, is seeking to restructure its debt pile.

Solar World module production.

Solar World's share price tumbled after it announced a need to restructure its debts.

A statement on the SolarWorld website read, "The management is of the opinion that serious adjustments on the debt side are necessary, in particular with regard to the bonds and the assignable bank loans."

Business newswire Bloomberg has estimated that the Bonn-based manufacturer has €400 million (US$538m) of bonds and loans maturing in 2016 with a further €400 million due to be repaid a year later.

According to Reuters, SolarWorld chief executive Frank Asbeck said holders of bonds set to mature in July 2016 and January 2017 would be hardest hit.

The Reuters report goes on state Asbeck's view that debt negotiations could take "weeks and months", and that more redundancies would be required at the group, on top of the 250 announced last year.

The company reported at the end of September that its debt-to-equity ratio had more than doubled from September 2011 to 218, totalling net debts of €805.2 million. Reuters reports that the company had €1 billion in debts as of September 2012.

The statement from SolarWorld said the management is confident of "a predominant degree of probability" of being able to restructure the company's debts.

Yesterday's announcement caused a morning rout on SolarWorld's shares which lost as much as 33% of their value in early trading before a slight recovery and saw fellow German solar manufacturers SMA Solar Technology AG and Centrosolar Group AG also suffer falls.

SolarWorld is due to announce its full year results on March 21.

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