Analysts, insiders weigh in on what's next for SolarWorld
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Lux Research's Fatima Toor says SolarWorld's plight seems all too familiar.
In February, the Business Journal delved into options, presented by analysts and industry observers, that SolarWorld AG should consider as it faced a $500 million-plus debt load.
The experts overwhelmingly recommended that SolarWorld simply try to restructure its debt.
SolarWorld did just that on Monday. It reached a preliminary debt restructuring agreement with major creditors that calls for 60 percent of the company’s debt to be swapped for a 95 percent share of the company. SolarWorld’s banks would become the company’s primary stakeholders.
SolarWorld’s officials told Sustainable Business Oregon the company’s sweeping proposal will have no direct effect on the company’s 700-employee Hillsboro operations (see stories, page 12 and 13).
The question remains, though: Will the debt restructuring help SolarWorld, with its sizable regional presence, thrive in an industry threatened by pressures from Chinese competitors and what some call “oversaturation?”
We're running a piece in Friday's print edition detailing what a few national and local solar industry observers had to say. Here are a few snippets. (And for a comprehensive take on the matter from SolarWorld's Ben Santarris, take a look at his SBO Voices Blog.)
Fatima Toor, lead analyst, solar components, Lux Research Inc.
“I think SolarWorld’s eventual fate may look similar to that of Q-Cells, another German headquartered company and one of the biggest solar cell manufacturers not too long ago that filed for bankruptcy in April 2012 and got acquired by Korean conglomerate, Hanwha, in September 2012. Last week there were rumors that a Qatari investor, most likely QSTEC, may acquire SolarWorld but nothing is confirmed yet.
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