Merkur News, Holzkirchen, 28.6.2013
Holzkirchen – The solar crisis is now casting its shadow on a Holzkirchen company that was previously considered immune: Carpevigo is fighting for survival. The listed holding company can no longer service the interest payment for a bond due on 30 June.
“The crisis in the photovoltaic industry has also affected Carpevigo,” admits CEO Jens F. Neureuther. A “restructuring process” has been initiated. At the headquarters at Marktplatz in Holzkirchen – some employees have had to go. Still, Carpevigo offers nine jobs there. “I am confident that we will be able to secure the remaining core staff,” says Neureuther.
To raise capital, the company, which builds and operates solar power plants, had put a bond on the market a year ago. The “Energy Bond I” was supposed to raise 50 million euros, the denomination was 1000 euros. The money was to be used to buy photovoltaic power plants in Germany and Italy. Carpevigo promised an interest rate of 7.25 per cent, but cannot pay it out at the end of June.
According to Neureuther, the main cause of the crisis is the steadily deteriorating market environment in the solar industry. Well-known companies went bankrupt, others dissolved their divisions (Siemens, Bosch). Banks are no longer willing to put money into the struggling industry. “Bank financing is not feasible in the industry at the moment,” Neureuther notes. Carpevigo did not get any fresh money. “Our core business, developing and building new projects, has thus come to a standstill.” During this difficult phase, Carpevigo’s weather luck also ran out: In the gloomy weather of the first half of 2013, electricity sales plummeted by 25 percent as compared to 2012.
Where do we go from here? Neureuther sought help from the Holzkirchen lawyer Alfred Ponzer, who has already accompanied several insolvency proceedings and gained experience as a restructurer, for example with the Otterfinger company Vermes. In July, the bondholders will decide whether they want to support the restructuring concept. That means they would have to be satisfied with a two percent interest in the future. “That would prevent insolvency and the break-up of Carpevigo Holding,” says Neureuther.
In the long term, the restructuring concept is based on the current income from the photovoltaic plants in Germany and Italy. The creditors are to be serviced from the “solar harvest” over a longer period of time. Alternatively, Carpevigo could also try to sell plants to raise capital. “But that is difficult,” says Neureuther, “because the prices achievable on the market are low.” Solar stocks are no longer in demand.
According to Neureuther, the solar park near Föching-Forstbauer, which went online in 2012 and has a capacity of one megawatt, is “exempt from the whole problem and is not affected”.