Qatar Solar Technologies Plans to Acquire 30% Stake in SolarWorld

SolarWorld AG (SWV), Germany’s biggest maker of solar panels, rose the most in four months after newspapers reported that Qatar Solar Technologies will help finance a restructuring by acquiring a 30 percent stake.

SolarWorld surged as much as 25 percent to 86 euro cents, the sharpest intraday jump since Feb. 13, and was up 24 percent at 12:11 p.m. in Frankfurt. That pared the stock’s decline this year to 20 percent. Volume was more than double the three-month daily average.

The investor, a unit of the Qatar Foundation, plans to spend as much as 35 million euros ($47 million) on the holding when SolarWorld sells new stock, and it may buy a convertible bond that will add about 200 million euros to the Bonn-based target’s treasury, publications including the Wall Street Journal and Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported in the past two days, citing unidentified people in the financial industry.

SolarWorld’s losses have widened amid intensifying competition, mainly from China, that pushed average solar-panel prices down 75 percent from 2009 through 2012. That propelled more than a dozen German businesses including Solar Millennium AG (S2M) and Q-Cells SE, once the largest solar-cell maker, into bankruptcy. Solarworld is working to complete a deal based on an initial accord with creditors in May on a debt-to-equity swap to help cut non-current liabilities by about 60 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Frank Asbeck will contribute about 11 million euros of equity capital to the restructuring effort and may retain about 20 percent of the company’s shares, according to the Journal.

Milan Nitzschke, a Solarworld spokesman, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Spokesmen at Qatar Solar didn’t immediately respond to e-mail and phone messages seeking comment.

Siemens AG (SIE), Europe’s biggest engineering company, said separately that it will close its solar-power division after failing to find a buyer and losing at least 784 million euros on the project. The Munich-based company put the unit on sale in October.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Lead image: Solar panels via Shutterstock

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