Greentech Lead Europe: Gehrlicher Solar, which has filed for bankruptcy protection, is about to finalize an investor for its successfully operating U.S subsidiary, according to the preliminary administrator Oliver Schartl of the Munich law firm Müller-Heydenreich Beutler & Kollegen.
Founded in 1994, Gehrlicher plans, builds, finances and operates solar power stations in the multi-megawatt range around the world. The Munich-based Gehrlicher operates subsidiaries and joint ventures in France, Britain, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Turkey, India, South Africa and the U.S.
With the introduction of anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar modules and resulting deterioration in market conditions in Europe, Gehrlicher Solar no longer found itself in a position to satisfy the conditions of the loan agreement and, filed for bankruptcy protection with the Munich Local Court on July 5, 2013, making it the latest German solar company to fall victim of the ongoing crisis in the solar industry.
The court appointed attorney Oliver Schartl as the company’s insolvency administrator.
“I see very good prospects of being soon able to sell Gehrlicher Solar America Corporation to an investor” said Schartl. The exploratory discussions in the course of the search for an investor supported by a German and US M&A consultancy firm are already at an advanced stage.
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. For Gehrlicher, Schartl and his team and the company’s management are considering at present the possibilities of a bankruptcy reorganization plan with the involvement of an investor in order to retain major parts of Gehrlicher into the future.
Meanwhile, the preliminary administrator has, in close cooperation with the preliminary creditors’ committee, succeeded in stabilizing the business and in securing the wages and salaries of the employees by means of a bridging financing of the state bankruptcy wages and salaries support.
All employees will be paid up to the end of September, according to 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. “In Rumania alone, the company has five projects in progress with a volume of more than eleven million Euros.”
The implementation of the company’s reorganization already begun prior to the filing will continue, according to the preliminary administrator, in order that the position of Gehrlicher Solar AG on the market is improved.
With the recent compromise in the EU trade dispute with China, the company is hopeful that it will at least restore certain stability to the market. However, it thinks the deal does not benefit anyone because it still destroys jobs throughout the whole PV value chain.
Schartl expects major parts of Gehrlicher Solar AG can continue. The company has the potential for long-term success in the very competitive industry. “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”, said Schartl.