Solarworld faces €36.2 million loss

by Melanie Loos

Debt-ridden German solar-panel maker Solarworld has been making even bigger losses in the first months of 2013 – totalling half of its capital stock. In July the company is to hold a further extraordinary shareholder meeting.

The crisis of the solar industry and the strong competition from China have plunged German solar-panel maker Solarworld, once Germany’s largest solar company, deep into loss-making. Low sales and price pressures weigh heavily on the company. The one-time industry leader said that the long winter and the restructuring process have had a negative impact on sales.

In the first quarter of 2013 the company made a loss before interest and tax of 36.2 million euros compared with an operating profit of 26.6 million in the same period last year.

The company’s operating business has been struggling since last year and continues to lose ground. Its turnover dropped by more than a third compared with the first quarter of 2012 from 170.5 million to 112.2 million euros in the first three months of this year, according to the data released by the company at the end of May.

As a consequence the share price also fell sharply and is currently at only 0.70 euros. Since its IPO in 1999 Solarworld’s share climbed up to 41.75 euros in 2007, falling dramatically thereafter.

Western manufacturers of solar power equipment, above all in Germany, have come under intense pressure due to a global overcapacity in the solar industry, which has forced many players to file for insolvency.

Solarworld has recently invited its shareholders to an extraordinary general meeting on 11 July 2013, where the management board will report on the company’s debt restructuring efforts and inform the shareholders about the loss of half of its capital stock.

At the same time the company’s negotiations with creditors to restructure a large part of its debt are still ongoing. The company said it expects that all resolutions to implement the debt restructuring will be passed in August.