SolarWorld AG closes financial restructuring, gains strategic investor

SolarWorld AG has announced the successful culmination of its year-long financial restructuring process, as revealed to the Commercial Register of the Bonn District Court.

The company’s financial restructuring saw it reduce its financial liabilities by 57%, gain a new strategic investor, and convert its remaining financial liability of €427 million into two new secured, five-year bonds.

It is expected that these new bonds and shares will be listed at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by March 5. As part of the financial restructuring process, new investors were sought, with SolarWorld AG attracting the investment of Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec).

"The investment of Qatar Solar in SolarWorld will positively accelerate the advancement of the integrated development of Qatar Solar Industry locally and internationally," said QSTec’s CEO and chairman, Khalid Klefeekh Al Hajri during a visit to the Bosch Solar Energy AG production site in Arnstadt, Germany, where cell and module production is expected to restart soon. SolarWorld bought this production facility in November last year, and which enables the company to produce 1 GW of wafers, cells and modules every year.

For SolarWorld’s CFO Philippe Koecke, the completion of the restructuring measures ensures that the company is "now back on a firm financial footing." Part of the restructuring process involved a comprehensive overhaul of SolarWorld’s operating procedure, with measures introduced designed to increase efficiency and reduce overheads.

Such measures, said SolarWorld AG CEO Frank Asbeck, were already taking effect. "We have done our homework and in this way created favorable conditions to continue our business successfully and return to profitability in 2015," he said.

"A decisive factor will be success with our customers. We have consistently increased the quality and performance of our products during the industry crisis. SolarWorld has remained true to itself and its standards. We supply an all-round valuable product, setting us apart from the competition. This is the path for us to follow in the future."

Just last week, SolarWorld unveiled its medium-term growth plan into 2015, revealing renewed confidence born from a planned increase in shipments worldwide and the welcome decision reached by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to close a loophole allowing Chinese products made with cells manufactured in Taiwan to be exempt from anti dumping and countervailing duties. The decision, SolarWorld said, enabled all U.S. solar producers to return to a level playing field.