Qatar plans $46m investment in top solar group
Frankfurt, June 19, 2013
Qatar Solar, a major renewable energy initiative from the Qatar Foundation, is set to boost its stake in SolarWorld, once Germany's largest solar energy company, with an investment of 35 million euros ($46.8 million).
With this move, the Qatari group will become a 29-per cent shareholder in the group, while existing shareholders will end up with 5 per cent.
Western manufacturers of solar power equipment, particularly in Germany, have come under intense pressure from overcapacity in the solar industry, which has forced many big players such as Q-Cells and Solon, to file for insolvency.
SolarWorld, which is 27.84 per cent owned by its chief executive and founder, Frank Asbeck, has been long immune to the sector's crisis.
The company in January warned creditors of a debt restructuring. But holders of its two convertible bonds, with a combined volume of 550 million euros ($734 million), have not yet agreed to the plans.
They will meet on July 8 and 9, respectively, to appoint a joint representative and subsequently decide on the plan.
The German solar group needs the backing of some bondholders for a wide-ranging debt restructuring that would make Qatar a major new shareholder in the company.
Under the debt restructuring deal, Qatar Solar will invest 35 million euros in SolarWorld, becoming a 29-percent shareholder in the group, while existing shareholders will end up with 5 percent.
Qatar Solar, which is owned by the Qatar Foundation, also has a 70 percent stake in Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec), a joint venture with SolarWorld, which owns 29 per cent.
As part of the deal, Asbeck will invest 10 million euros of private funds, giving him a 19.5 per cent stake.-Reuters
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