Following speculation in the Financial Times Deutschland on May 10 that a Chinese company would acquire 30 percent of Conergy, CEO Phillip Comberg told Tuesdays edition of German newspaper, Handelsblatt, "We are negotiating intensively with various companies about comprehensive cooperation." The entry of a Chinese investor should "go beyond a pure supply relationship". "We could, for example, develop solar projects together," continued Comberg, who used to sit on the board of Chinese solar company, Solarfun.
The advantage of such a relationship would be that Chinese companies have better access to credit and, thus, could help with financing. Not to mention that undertaking photovoltaic projects in China is near impossible for foreign companies, unless they have a very strong balance sheet and relationship with central and regional government bodies.
In exchange, Conergy could offer the Chinese company access to the European markets, which Asian manufacturers often lack. "Our core competency is access to customers," said Comberg.
Sooner or later, it is possible that Conergy will be completely taken over by a Chinese competitor. This is, however, thought to be more feasible in the midterm. Exploratory talks are already underway. Comberg would not directly comment, but enigmatically stated, "Strategically we must prepare ourselves for an independent future."
Which begs the question, are Asian investors one of the only options left open to Germanys beleaguered solar companies, which have recently been dropping like flies?
Germany’s solar companies – insolvency timeline
Meier Solar Solutions
Filed for insolvency 05.09.2010; found Japanese investor 07.09.2010
Blue Chip Energy GmbH
Files for insolvency 22.07.2011
Arise Technologies Deutschland GmbH
Entered structured insolvency 13.10.2011
Solar Millennium AG
Files for insolvency 21.12.2011; investigation into fraud announced 28.12.2011; employees let go as insolvency proceedings begin 28.02.2012; chairman of the management board resigns 06.03.2012; U.S. subsidiaries and investment file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Claassen sues for defamation 03.04.2012; class action lawsuit filed 08.05.2012; liquidator confident of investor payout 16.05.2012
Files for insolvency 08.02.2012
Provisional administrator appointed for Scheuten Solar Production Facilities GmbH, Scheuten Solar Cells GmbH and Scheuten Solar Technology GmbH 29.02.2012; provisional administrator appointed for Scheuten Solar Holding Germany GmbH 30.04.2012
Ralos New Energies AG
Files for insolvency 02.03.2012
Files for bankruptcy 21.03.2012
Filed for insolvency 29.03.2012; preliminary insolvency proceedings opened after failure to find investor 18.04.2012
Files for insolvency 09.05.2012
Rumors emerge over insolvency 12.05.2012; application to open self-administration insolvency proceedings filed 14.05.2012; redevelopment plan unveiled 15.05.2012
Inventux Technologies AG
Files for insolvency 18.05.2012