Centrosolar shareholders approve debt-for-equity swap

Centrosolar moved closer towards overhauling its balance sheet on Wednesday after shareholders approved a debt-for-equity plan that vastly reduces the troubled company’s debt and turns bondholders into stockholders.

The plan, approved a day after bond creditors agreed to the deal, includes a number of measures that will result in a 25-fold reduction of the company’s capital stock and a share increase that will decrease the German group’s debt by more than 60%.

In a first step, Centrosolar will reduce its capital stock by a ratio of 25 to 1, from its current €20.35 million to €814,057.

The company will then increase its capital stock against a €50 million 7% bond and a €9.5 million loan, both now valued at €6.26 million, to a total €7.07 million (which includes the €814,057). The debt conversion into equity capital will result in a reduction in overall liabilities of more than 60%.

Centrosolar will subsequently issue 5.5 million new shares, which will go to creditors who hold outstanding debt from the €50 million as part of the debt-for-equity swap.

"This resolution is intended to inject fresh financial resources into the company," the group said in a statement.

Centrosolar is looking to implement the measures in the second half of the year.

The plan appears to have stirred investors: Centrosolar shares rose 18% on Wednesday to €0.32 before falling more than 12% to €0.28 on Thursday.

The Munich-based company, which specializes in solar integrated systems, modules, inverters and mounting systems, has been hit hard by the downturn in Germany’s PV market.

In the first three months of the year, Centrosolar saw sales plunge 46% to €24.5 million as operating losses nearly tripled to €11 million.