Former Conergy chairman hits back; production closure status updated

The founder and former chairman of the board of Conergy AG, Hans-Martin Rüter, denies the allegations leveled against him.

Just one day before the general meeting of shareholders, the photovoltaic company’s supervisory board filed suit against Rüter and three other former board members at Hamburg Regional Court.

Conergy has accused the managers of violations of duty as established under the German Stock Corporation Law, and demands payment in damages in the amount of €268 million.

Now Rüter has decided to speak out. He has rejected a settlement with Conergy. In the move by the supervisory board, Rüter sees an attempt "to essentially obtain funds from the D&O insurance and to divert attention from its own flagrant shortcomings through untenable accusations".

He added that the accusations were "insubstantial and false". Nevertheless, he already entered into settlement talks with Conergy in April 2009, in order to avoid a dispute involving damages claims.

At the same time, Rüter pointed to the fact that since then, the amounts claimed by the company have incessantly increased.

He stated: "I see an attempt by the company – as in other cases affecting German business – to coerce additional money at the expense of the personal reputations of the members of the board who have meanwhile left the company."

"In my view, pressure is supposed to be built up here in order to unjustly obtain large amounts," he went on to say.

In a reply to the allegations in December 2010, he himself already proved that he neither violated any obligations nor caused any damage. Furthermore, an expert opinion which the supervisory board had prepared indicates that the majority of the accusations are "not enforceable or legally questionable". Thus Rüter is quite relaxed about any possible legal proceedings.

Slowdown of production in Frankfurt/Oder

According to reports in various media, Conergy is planning to reduce jobs at its plant in Frankfurt/Oder.

The daily German newspaper, Handelsblatt (Monday issue), for example, reported on the basis of insider information that up to one hundred jobs are to be cut. Thus only solar modules will be manufactured at the plant in the future, while intermediate products such as solar cells and wafers will be purchased abroad, it was reported.

Although the decision is not yet final, all signs are pointing in this direction, according to insider reports.

No figure could be placed on the savings volume possible as a result of restructuring the company’s production. However, with its new orientation Conergy will be more attractive for possible cooperating partners.