SolarWorld confirms Qatar stake

Troubled German PV manufacturer SolarWorld confirmed that Qatar Solar intends to buy 29% of new shares after a debt restructuring that will leave existing shareholders with a stake of just 5% in the company.

SolarWorld chairman Frank Asbeck as part of the restructuring will see his own stake in the company reduced to 19.5% of the new share capital. He currently owns 27.84% of SolarWorld shares.

Sales proceeds from the transaction will amount to €46m ($61.6m), the company said in an Ad-hoc message to the stock market. Some €35m of that amount corresponds to the intended Qatar Solar stake, while Asbeck will contribute approximately €10m out of his personal capital, a SolarWorld official said, adding that the two sums don’t add up exactly to €46m due to rounding effects.

SolarWorld itself owns 29% of Quatar Solar Technologies, a polysilicon investment project by Qatar Solar that is owned by the Qatar Foundation. The Qatar Foundation has been set up by the Qatari government to support education and science projects.

The management of SolarWorld assumes that by the beginning of August, a shareholders’ and a bondholders’ meeting will each approve the agreement.

Under the proposed deal, the company’s current share capital would be reduced by a ratio of 150:1 to €744,800, down from €111.7m, to be followed by a capital increase.

SolarWorld AG shares fell 15.5% to €0.685 a share at the Frankfurt stock exchange today after having surged almost 30% yesterday amid heavy speculation about the company’s restructuring.