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Gehrlicher Solar AG finds investor

Following its bankruptcy filing a few weeks ago, PV specialist Gehrlicher Solar AG could have a new investor.

This is according to preliminary administrator Oliver Schartl of the Munich law firm Müller-Heydenreich Beutler & Kollegen. “I see very good prospects of being soon able to sell Gehrlicher Solar America Corporation to an investor,” said Schartl.

Discuussions of the search for an investor supported by a German and US M&A consultancy firm are already at an advanced stage, he reports.

According to Schartl, concurrently solar projects of the Italian and Spanish subsidiaries and existing project rights are being offered on the market by M&A consultants. These independent subsidiaries are reportedly working soundly and are not affected directly by the filing. For Gehrlicher Solar AG, Schartl and his team and the company’s management are considering a bankruptcy reorganisation plan with the involvement of an investor in order to retain major parts of Gehrlicher into the future.

Meanwhile, the preliminary administrator has, in cooperation with the preliminary creditors’ committee, stabilised the business and secured the wages and salaries of the employees by a bridging financing of the state bankruptcy wages and salaries support. “All employees will be paid up to the end of September,” said Schartl. All areas of the business can for the moment continue unchanged.

“The banks have approved an estate loan of several millions euros so that sites on which Gehrlicher Solar AG solar parks are under construction, mainly in Romania, can be completed on schedule,” continued Schartl. The company has five projects in progress in Romania with a volume of more than eleven million euros.

Schartl suggests that the company has the potential for long-term success in PV. “From the long-term perspective, the future prospects for photovoltaic are very good worldwide. The falling manufacturing costs of recent years make solar energy internationally increasingly competitive compared to conventional energy forms,” he said.

With the introduction of anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar modules and resulting deterioration in market conditions in Europe, Gehrlicher Solar AG no longer saw itself in a position to satisfy the conditions of the loan agreement and, on 5 July 2013, filed for preliminary reorganization proceedings at the Munich Local Court.

“We view the compromise in the EU trade dispute with China as positive to the extent that it will at least restore certain stability to the market. Basically, however, the deal does not benefit anyone because it still destroys jobs throughout the whole PV value chain,” said Richard von Hehn, management board member of Gehrlicher Solar AG who is, inter alia, chief operating officer (COO) of the business. 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity