Solarworld Expert to help restructure insolvent company

Bonn · After Solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld announced its insolvency, expert Horst Piepenburg is embarking on an attempt to save the company with 3300 employees in total.

The district court Bonn appointed the Düsseldorf lawyer last Friday as preliminary insolvency administrator. This includes the four subsidiaries SolarWorld Industries Sachsen GmbH, SolarWorld Industries Thüringen GmbH, SolarWorld Industries Deutschland GmbH and SolarWorld Innovations, whose director filed for bankruptcy one day after the parent company.

63-year-old Piepenburg made a name for himself with several successful cases nationwide. In 2002, he managed to rescue the majority of 21.000 jobs at the insolvent Oberhausen enterprise Babcock despite its insolvency. „Together with my team, I will look into the current situation of the company“, explained Piepenburg, who informed the staff in Bonn personally about the state of affairs. According to SolarWorld, Piepenburg’s first step is to secure salaries and wages for May, June and July through pre-financing the insolvency fund.

Production continues, said a spokesperson. In the future, Piepenburg has to decide, if for example new stock is to be purchased. Shortly, the question will arise, if the subsidiaries in Thurginia and Saxony will have to file for insolvency too. The search for an investor has the highest priority now.

Minister for economic affairs in Thuringia, Wolfgang Tiefensee, promised the state’s support visiting the manufacturer in Arnstadt. In the Thuringian town, SolarWorld employs 814 staff. The factory also secures hundreds of jobs at supplier firms. The production has to continue, said Tiefensee. With the future in mind and while searching for an investor, it would be most important to keep a producing facility in operation.

SolarWorld filed for insolvency for its parent concern last Thursday. The company blames Chinese dumping prices, beating down the market world wide, for its failure. Nationwide, SolarWorld employs approximately 2600 staff in the Bonn headquarters, in Arnstadt and in Freiberg (Saxony). They also have a facility in the United States.

The bankruptcy filing, which came as a surprise to many investors and employees, engages the finance controllers Bafin. They are currently investigating if the investors were informed in time about impending risks. According to the FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), the hitherto company director Frank Asbeck played down the debt overload during the annual press conference only weeks before the bankruptcy filing.

(Original text: dpa, translation: Mareike Graepel)

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