PV group Sovello stares into the abyss as buyer fails to appear

Sovello will cease production and shed nearly every remaining employee on its roster – about 500 in total – after failing to secure a takeover bid in time, the bankrupt German solar module producer has confirmed.

The company’s position has deteriorated dramatically since late July, when Sovello said it was in advanced talks with a potential Asian buyer and indicated that by laying off half its workforce it may be able to staunch its losses.

Sovello filed for bankruptcy in May, and initially requested to self-administer its insolvency proceedings. However, that request was rejected several weeks ago by the German state of Saxony-Anhalt and Lucas Flöther, an outsider, was brought in to initiate a liquidation process.

Chief executive and former chairman Reiner Beutel, who had expressed optimism that a takeover offer would materialise, was sent packing.

Today Flöther confirmed reports that nearly all remaining Sovello employees will be let go and all production shut down by the end of the month. It is understood that the machines will be left in “standby” mode in case a last-minute rescue offer emerges.

Flöther says the decision became inevitable when the situation “declined sharply” after the bankruptcy filing.

“We are leaving no stone unturned, but [we’ve] yet to find a buyer,” he says. “A continuation of production at this time would only lead to more losses.”

Flöther notes that talks with potential investors are ongoing, but acknowledges that the company’s worse-than-feared financial position has made these negotiations even more difficult.

Sovello has less than 200MW of production capacity at its plant, which is just down the street from the headquarters of its former financial backer Q-Cells – itself believed to be on the cusp of securing a takeover bid from Korea’s Hanwha.