SolarWorld CEO proposes multi million euro lifeline for the company

Asbeck, SolarWorld CEO, told German newspaper Handelsblatt on Friday that he is willing to reduce his shareholding from 28% to 1.4% by surrendering his stake in a proposed debt-to-equity swap and would then purchase new shares which would "significantly" increase his stake. According to the local daily, finance experts say that this way Asbeck would then end up with more than 20% of the German manufacturer.

As part of its restructuring efforts, the German manufacturer is planning to reduce its debts by 60% to €350 million (US$ 454.7 million) and a debt-to-equity swap will be proposed to the company’s other shareholders in an extraordinary general meeting in July.

In addition, the SolarWorld CEO told Handelsblatt that he has been holding talks with a Qatari investor, who is interested in being the second main investor. The identity of the investor has not been revealed.

However, quoting a source close to the process, Reuters recently reported that Qatar Solar Technologies – a joint venture between SolarWorld (29% stake) and the Qatar Foundation (70% stake) – was ready to take a stake in SolarWorld. The Qatar Development Bank owns the remaining 1% stake.

Meanwhile, The Bonn-based solar panel maker, posted a hefty $51.5 million net loss in the first quarter of the year, up from a $386,601 loss in the same period a year ago, as it struggled with a severe downturn in the domestic German market and continues its own internal restructuring process.

The German manufacturer has been at the forefront of U.S. and European efforts to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar imports. "Only anti-dumping measures can prevent the creation of a Chinese monopoly, which would lead to lower prices, less innovation and even further job losses in Europe," Milan Nitzschke, SolarWorld executive board spokesperson said in a recent statement.