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Restructuring plans for SolarWatt Ag

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At assembly, SOLARWATT AG's creditors voted in favor of the reorganization plan put forth by SOLARWATT and restructuring experts from Salans LLP. Following the vote, the local district court in Dresden officially confirmed the reorganization plan. The company, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, has thus reached the most important milestone in the insolvency proceedings that have been ongoing since June 13, 2012. The reorganization plan includes substantial restructuring contributions from all SOLARWATT AG creditors.

  Detlef Neuhaus, the CEO of SOLARWARTT AG, expressed his thanks to the creditors: “With this decision, SOLARWATT AG’s creditors have paved the way for the continued existence and sustainable reorganization of one of the pioneering companies in the German solar industry. As soon as the official legal confirmation of the plan takes effect, SOLARWATT and its 337 employees in Dresden can forge ahead with solid prospects for a sustainable future as a fully restructured company whose primary focus lies in the rapidly growing business of system solutions. We would also like to thank our customers who have shown their loyalty to SOLARWATT AG, its products, and our highly motivated team over the past few difficult months.”  

Neuhaus added: “We’re glad that we will still be able to offer our customers innovative products for individualized energy solutions "Made in Germany" in the future. Before the year is out, we will be launching new products in the area of system solutions. We still have big plans and after the approval of our reorganization plan today, we are more convinced than ever that we can make a valuable contribution to the shift toward renewable energy sources and to upholding Germany's place as a leader in technology. Even though the solar industry is currently facing a challenging consolidation phase, the energy supply of the future is renewable and decentralized – and this fact reaffirms that SOLARWATT is indeed headed in the right direction."    

The most important restructuring hurdle has been overcome Rainer M. Bähr, the trustee appointed by the local district court of Dresden for SOLARWATT AG, explained: “With the favorable vote of the creditors, SOLARWATT AG has overcome the most important hurdle in its restructuring efforts. Once confirmation of the plan takes legal effect, the current insolvency proceedings will be dismissed.”  

Unsubordinated, unsecured creditors in the insolvency, especially suppliers and bondholders of SOLARWATT AG, will receive 16% of their registered and verified outstanding claims just four weeks after the plan takes legal effect. In February 2015, the company may be able to issue a second payment totaling up to €1.5 million to be divided among all entitled unsubordinated creditors in the insolvency through a reversal of accruals that would then be possible, provided that the accruals in question can be reversed as of December 31, 2014.    

Entrepreneur Stefan Quandt will become the new anchor investor of SOLARWATT AG Once the approved plan takes legal effect, the entrepreneur Stefan Quandt will support SOLARWATT AG as it shifts its focus toward system solutions in his role as the new anchor investor. For this purpose, the share capital of the company which will have been reduced to zero will then be raised up to a total of €5 million through a capital increase. Following the capital increase, Stefan Quandt will hold 94% of the company's capital via his holding company AQTON SE. Furthermore, Quandt will also issue a shareholder loan in the amount of €5 million. Stefan Quandt has been assisted in this business transaction by the investment bank Freitag & Co.    

Business developments confirm SOLARWATT AG's system strategy Since 2010, the market environment for German solar module manufacturers has been marked by over-capacity, a much faster than expected deterioration in prices due to harsh international price competition, and an insecure political framework. Industry experts expect solar module prices to continue to drop over the next few years before bottoming out in 2015.  

At the same time, the demand for technology that can intelligently incorporate solar power into a home’s energy management system is increasing. So far, SOLARWATT AG's performance figures for 2012 confirm this shift in demand from that of just solar modules to integrated system solutions. While module sales dropped, business in system solutions was better than originally forecast between January and August 2012.  

Detlef Neuhaus emphasized the importance of SOLARWATT AG's new focus in light of these circumstances: “A substantial component of the reorganization plan approved by the creditors is the strengthening of the company’s focus on the promising field of system solutions. After the restructuring process is complete, SOLARWATT AG will be in a position to wade out the current tide of market consolidation from high ground and become a strong player in the growing market for innovative solar energy systems.”     About SOLARWATT: Founded in 1993, SOLARWATT AG with its seat in Dresden is active throughout Europe as one of the leading German manufacturers of high-quality crystalline solar modules and a supplier of innovative all-inclusive photovoltaic packages and energy management systems.  

Investment & Trading | News published on 13 / 09 / 2012 by Bharat Vasandani

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