The insolvency administrator of German solar manufacturer Solarworld, Horst Piepenburg, signed a purchase and transfer agreement with newly registered company Solarworld Industries GmbH on Tuesday. This company appeared in the commercial register a few days earlier, with Frank Asbeck as its CEO. The company could take over the group, together with the Qatar Foundation, as recently announced by IG Metall. Spokesman for the insolvency administrator, Thomas Schulz, did not confirm names, citing agreed confidentiality. The aim of the agreement was to continue the essential parts of cell and module production. According to information obtained by pv magazine, cell production in Arnstadt and module production in Freiberg will be continued.
The contract included “almost the entire property, plant and equipment, all inventories and all intangible assets of the aforementioned companies, and certain receivables from the aforementioned subsidiaries, as well as the company shares of Solarworld AG at Solarworld Africa (Pty) Ltd, Solarworld Asia Pacific PTE Ltd., Solarworld France SAS and Solarworld Japan KK “. “The purchase price is essentially the replacement of liabilities which are covered by the rights of creditors.” However, the contract still has to be confirmed at the creditor meeting, which the Bonn District Court has scheduled for Friday.
The insolvency administrator had already explained a few days earlier that the takeover of 450 employees at the German Solarworld sites was included in negotiations. This was not mentioned in the communication on Tuesday. According to various reports, it is planned to maintain around 180 jobs at the Arnstadt production site. In Freiberg, where a part of Solarworld's R&D activities will be continued, there will be around 280 employees.
A transfer company for the 1200 Solarworld employees, which are not taken over in Arnstadt and Freiberg, seems to be on the way. Earlier last Friday, IG Metall in Thuringia had announced that the work councils of the sites in Bonn, Arnstadt and Freiberg had completed a social plan. According to a report from dpa-AFX, the employees in Thuringia were informed about the transfer company on Monday.
Even before the agreement between the insolvency administrator and the investor group, some criticism had been voiced. IG Metall, for example, has some doubts about the concept of continuation. Asbeck and his financially strong partner from Qatar would now have to recover the lost trust quickly, the union said. In addition, the Dutch group, Prisma Systems, complained that their offer for a complete takeover of Solarworld had not been answered or considered by the insolvency administrator. The spokesman of the insolvency administrator, Thomas Schulz, confirmed to pv magazine that there were several interested parties who would have needed several weeks for the economic and technical due dilligence. A contract would thus not have been possible until the end of the year, if at all. Only the group of investors, with whom the contract had now come into being, had been prepared to decide much more quickly and provided the necessary transaction security, Schulz confirmed.
This investor group had also announced the payment of all non-released SolarWorld employees until mid-August. If it had not, the opening of the insolvency proceedings on August 1 would have put almost all Solarworld employees on the road. With the continued financing after the expiry of the insolvency deposit, the investor group ensured the maintenance of production in the factories in Arnstadt and Freiberg. This is, of course, also in their own interest: production can be continued seamlessly in the event of the approval of the gathering on Friday.
The production of the U.S. subsidiary of Solarworld was not affected by the insolvency of the German companies in May.
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