SolarWorld reaches cash infusion deal with Qatari partner
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
The arrangement could bring hundreds of millions of dollars to SolarWorld, which houses its North American headquarters in Hillsboro.
SolarWorld AG has reached a deal that, as a key partner pours millions of capital into the company, could keep the major solar industry player viable for years to come.
Qatar Solar Technologies plans to put about $50 million into the company. SolarWorld holds 29 percent of the Qatar company.
Ben Santarris, a Hillsboro-based SolarWorld spokesman, said Monday the company does have an agreement with a Qatari investor. Solarworld said in a stock exchange statement Tuesday that it has reached several measures with its largest creditors. The move gives Qatar Solar a 29 percent stake in SolarWorld.
Frank Asbeck, SolarWorld’s CEO, has also pledged to reinvest in the company. Asbeck told a German interviewer in late May he’s trying to maintain his share in the company. A deal with creditors that SolarWorld announced in May could dilute Asbeck’s shares to 1.4 percent. Asbeck wants to maintain the 20 percent-plus share he currently holds.
Shareholders and creditors are set to weigh in on the debt-for-equity plan by September.
The Wall Street Journal’s German edition said that QSTec, with which SolarWorld has a polysilicon would acquire 30 percent of the SolarWorld for $50 million in U.S. dollars and purchase a convertible bond that could boost SolarWorld’s funds by as much as $267 million.
The Qatari connection was mentioned as a possible funding source for SolarWorld as early as May 2.
SolarWorld’s shares, on the Frankfurt exchange, climbed to a five-month high on the reports.
SolarWorld has enjoyed a bevy of positive news in the past two weeks.
A New York Times story reported that quality of solar panels coming into the U.S. from China is lacking. SolarWorld officials have long argued that Chinese manufacturers are flooding U.S. markets with inferior panels.
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