Econcern Crisis Leads To Closure of Dutch Module Plant

Ubbink Solar Modules B.V. (USM), a 100% subsidiary of Centrosolar Group AG, is to close down its solar module manufacturing plant located in Doesburg, in the Netherlands, following the loss of Ecostream Switzerland GmbH as its principal customer. This customer has been affected by a suspension of payments order concerning its parent Econcern B.V., based in Utrecht.

Econcern says that it has filed for suspension of payments (‘surseance van betaling’) in the Netherlands after the company’s group financing facility expired on 1 April.

The company sought a solution in close cooperation with shareholders and banks. That solution was not found and filing for suspension of payments allows the board of Econcern more time to secure financing and negotiate options for the future of the company.

Ecostream had until now been supplying USM with solar cells, and purchasing the solar modules that were then made from the cells. The volume of business with Ecostream last year amounted to around €25 million, accounting for the lion’s share of the production volume of the plant in question.

Centrosolar acquired 30% of the shares in USM from Econcern only as recently as February 2009, thus increasing its interest to 100%. However, payment of the purchase price for the shares acquired in February would only have fallen due if Ecostream had purchased agreed quantities of modules in the course of 2009, with the result that no purchase price remains payable.

USM will remain in existence as a legal entity and will continue to meet all its financial obligations although the workforce of around 70 at the Dutch plant will be offered redundancy, Centrosolar adds that it’s new, 110 MWp annual capacity module plant in Wismar, Germany, is unaffected by the closure of the Dutch plant.

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