Solar Shakeout: Conergy subsidiary Mounting Systems to cut 52 jobs as talks continue

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PV systems manufacturer and developer Conergy has confirmed that 52 employees at its subsidiary Mounting Systems will be let go on 1 October while negotiations are underway between Conergy and potential buyers. The majority of jobs have however been secured, with Mounting Systems expected to continue production at the site with 152 remaining employees.

Mounting Systems managing directors and preliminary insolvency administrator Dr. Sven-Holger Undritz of law firm White & Case are currently in talks with a set of potential investors, narrowed down from “a considerable number of interested parties”.

According to Undritz, agreement on the sale is expected to be reached by the end of October, with business operations at Mounting Systems expected to continue during the month. Undritz stated that while the order book and utilisation are at a lower level than in previous years, both remain stable. The potential investors have not been named but according to Conergy are from the USA and Europe.

Insolvency proceedings at Conergy began in early July, with subsequent developments including the recent sale of several overseas sales units of the company to Kawa Capital Management, a US-based asset management firm. Wages for Conergy workers were guaranteed from July until September from insolvency payments, but these finish on 1 October.

Managing director of Mounting Systems, Stefan Spork, said that despite the stability of order books and the loyalty of the company’s customer base it was forced to reduce its costs.

“The pressure on the solar market remains high and we have to advance the restructuring process in order to lower costs. I deeply regret that we cannot retain all staff but have to release a number of qualified employees. This is very painful but unfortunately inevitable,” said Spork.

“However, I am confident that Mounting Systems will have a very successful future and will offer its employees a very positive perspective. This is why we put great emphasis on the selection of the right interested parties. The concept must fit us and our strengths,” he added.

Conergy also announced on 30 September that company management and the Frankfurt Employment Agency had agreed ‘short time’ working terms for employees at Conergy SolarModule, the company’s module production subsidiary in Brandenburg, Germany. The short time arrangement, similar to that also entered into recently by workers and management at thin-film company Avancis, is a temporary agreement under German employment law to restructure working hours in order to minimise job losses. The short time period for Conergy SolarModule is expected to last until an investor has been found for the manufacturing facility, with Conergy and the insolvency administrator reportedly keen to retain skilled staff.

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