centrotherm photovoltaics Files For Bankruptcy Protection In Germany


centrotherm photovoltaics AG – a Germany-based provider of production lines and equipment for the manufacture of silicon and crystalline solar cells and modules – has announced that it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company says it submitted an application to the District Court of Ulm to launch insolvency protection proceedings and for the opening of insolvency proceedings under its own administration. The application includes subsidiaries centrotherm thermal solutions GmbH & Co. KG and centrotherm SiTec GmbH.

In a statement on its website, centrotherm says it aims to ‘pursue the reorganization path that it has already adopted.’

In March, the company announced a corporate restructuring plan following disappointing fiscal-year 2011 financial results. (It reported a 19.8 million euro operating loss.) That restructuring resulted in 400 layoffs and the closing of centrotherm's thin-film PV segment in Germany.

Last month, centrotherm's founder, Hans Autenrieth, stepped down from the company's management board. He was replaced by Jan von Schuckmann, who was appointed as the company's chief restructuring officer.

centrotherm's supervisory board also has appointed reorganization expert Tobias Hoefer to its management board. Hoefer, an insolvency lawyer, specializes in highly complex corporate reorganizations.

As part of the reorganization, the activities of centrotherm management services GmbH & Co. KG and centrotherm cell & module GmbH will be bundled within the parent company. All other subsidiaries, both in Germany and abroad, will continue to operate as usual and will not participate in the insolvency protection proceedings, centrotherm adds.

Core elements of the reorganization will include a concentration on technological strengths and core business areas, such as mechanical engineering for the energy and high-tech industry areas.

The company notes that business operations are currently continuing as usual.

‘The protection provided by the [German Act Relating to the Further Simplification of the Reorganization of Companies] creates the necessary scope to realize a balanced and sustainable future concept that lies in the interests of all participants in the proceedings," explains Robert M. Hartung, the company's CEO.

"At the same time, centrotherm photovoltaics AG continues to be able to manage its operations itself," he continues." Since we remain solvent, we can both process customer orders to schedule and also pay our suppliers. Liabilities that were originated before the application for the insolvency protection proceedings was filed cannot be satisfied during the protection proceedings, however. They are, nevertheless, to be satisfied as best as possible as part of the reorganization concept coordinated with creditors."

Further capacity adjustments and cost reductions are required, however, given the slump in the solar market over recent months, and the resultant decline in orders and sales, notes Schuckmann.

‘We require further structural adjustments in order to secure our company's continued existence in the future,' he says.

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