Solibro ceases operations

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From pv magazine Germany.

With shareholders in German thin-film solar manufacturer Solibro failing to inject enough cash to finance a proposed restructuring of the business, the company has ceased operations.

In September, the district court of Dessau-Roßlau approved a request by the company for self-administration insolvency proceedings as a restructuring plan was proposed to save the business.

Solibro shareholders had until Thursday to raise the necessary funds but failed to do so and the company’s management – which is the subject of some confusion – withdrew the request for self-administration. Regular insolvency proceedings have now been opened against Solibro’s assets, according to insolvency administrator Henning Schorisch of the law firm Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm.

Solibro was one of the final PV manufacturers in central Germany’s Bitterfeld ‘Solar Valley’. As long ago as 2015 the company had to put staff on shorter hours because of weak order volumes and the lifting of EU sanctions against Chinese solar imports appears to have been nail in Solibro’s coffin.

Ownership mystery

When pv magazine carried reports Solibro might enter insolvency proceedings in August, Chinese thin-film manufacturer Hanergy insisted the German business it had bought in 2012 had ceased to be one of its subsidiaries in December 2015. However, the company was still listed as a Hanergy subsidiary on the Chinese manufacturer’s website today. The press release issued to confirm the insolvency proceedings made mention only of “Chinese management”.

Insolvency administrator Schorisch said he was forced to dismiss 170 of Solibro’s remaining 180 employees because time had run out on attempts to sell all or part of the business and an attempt to fund the company turnaround with borrowings failed to attract a lender. Ten Solibro employees will remain for the time it takes to help liquidate the company.

“I have experienced the employees as a highly motivated, homogeneous unit who have worked for years and during the provisional self-administration for the company, which has hardly been functional for a long time,” said Schorisch. “In this respect, despite the regrettable necessity of terminating all employment relationships, it should be positively emphasized that constructive negotiations with the works council of Solibro GmbH and IG Metall have succeeded in agreeing on a reconciliation of interests and a social plan in accordance with the standards of the insolvency code.”