SolarWorld possibly saved by Qatar-based subsidiary


SolarWorld AG and its subsidiary Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) are reportedly close to finalizing an agreement that could save the financially troubled German panel maker with a much needed capital investment of €35 million by the Doha-based group.

A rescue deal with Qatar Solar Technologies has been rumored for weeks and a number of press reports suggest the expected announcement is imminent.

The Wall Street Journal Deutschland reported on Saturday that SolarWorld had reached an agreement with the Qatar group, in which it holds 29%, as well as with a majority of its creditors on the future structure of the company.

The debt-ridden SolarWorld needs shareholders and creditors to approve a debt-for-equity plan in the coming weeks that is a key element of its debt restructuring efforts. According to the Wall Street Journal Deutschland, the company’s creditors are expected to approve the plan in July.

As part of that plan, QSTec would acquire 30% of the Bonn-based SolarWorld for €35 million following a share increase. In addition, QSTec is expected to buy a convertible bond that would bolster SolarWorld’s coffers by as much as €200 million. As previously reported, SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck is will contribute some €11 million of equity capital into the company and retain about 20% of the group’s shares, according to the Wall Street Journal Deutschland.

SolarWorld has seen its losses grow in the face of intense competition from China, which has sent prices for PV panels plunging as much as 75% since 2009. Asbeck has been at the forefront of U.S. and European efforts to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese manufacturers.

SolarWorld has not commented on the reports.

On Monday, SolarWorld shares soared as much as 25% to €0.86 on news of the possible deal – the highest level they’ve reached since February.

QSTec is a joint venture between the Qatar Foundation, a Doha-based non-profit organization, which holds 70% in the company, SolarWorld with 29% and the Qatar Development Bank with 1%.