SolarWorld lodges an appeal against court judgment in Hemlock dispute

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SolarWorld has appealed to the Michigan Eastern District Court against the initial judgement made in its legal dispute with Hemlock Semiconductor. The appeal was received as part of a court document at the end of last week. In the judge’s initial ruling, SolarWorld was ordered to pay damages of US$793 million to Hemlock. That sum is made up of $585 million in damages and $208 million in interest, due to breaches of contracts by SolarWorld’s subsidiary Deutsche Solar, which now operates under the name Solarworld Industries Sachsen, according to the U.S. silicon manufacturer. Immediately after the initial judgement, the German PV manufacturer announced it would appeal the decision.

SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck expects the appeal process to last about a year, he recently said in a pv magazine interview. Only after the final judgement in the U.S. might this lead to a recognition procedure in Germany. At that stage, according to Asbeck, SolarWorld’s main argument of defense would be tested; that Hemlock’s take-or-pay contracts violate European antitrust laws. This argument was not accepted within the court’s initial judgement; however, it was pointed out that it needs to be examined at a later stage. Asbeck therefore also assumes that Hemlock will receive no recognition for its compensation claims in Germany.

Nevertheless, SolarWorld has now filled protective letters in various legal courts in Germany, the solar manufacturer has confirmed with pv magazine. This is a precautionary measure to prevent rapid execution of the sentence in Germany. An injunction thus could not be adopted without consultation. In the U.S. SolarWorld’s subsidiary Deutsche Solar has no assets.

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