Solar Shakeout: Gehrlicher Solar blames insolvency on EU anti-dumping measures

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Gehrlicher Solar has blamed its application for insolvency on the EU’s anti-dumping measures.

An €85 million loan agreed with a consortium of banks in May 2013 was cancelled with the company no longer able to follow the business plan that the two-year loan extension was based on.

The company is now under a process of reorganisation under German insolvency law and has appointed Oliver Schartl from Munich-based law firm MHBK as preliminary administrator.

“Anti-dumping tariffs on modules do not help anyone, not even those who request them, because they destroy jobs throughout the whole PV value chain,” said Richard von Hehn, management board member and COO, Gehrlicher Solar in a statement to the press.

It was the first official comment on the proceedings since papers were lodged with a court in Munich on Friday.

“The Federal Government and the European Commission must take action and solve the issue at the political level before the summer break, otherwise further damage to the industry will result,” said von Hehn.

The EU will apply levies on solar modules imported from China from 6 August 2013 in an effort to tackle the influx of cheap products that undercut the price of European manufactured alternatives.

There are fears that while module makers will benefit from the potential halt in falling prices, the rest of PV value chain will be affected by increased costs.

The preliminary administrator Schartl said: “The company has an excellent reputation in the market, large technological know-how, about 200 MW of Operations & Maintenance under contract and is very well positioned the US, which has become one of the most important markets in PV.”

The company also confirmed that its US-based subsidiary, Gehrlicher Solar America and the investment focused arm Gehrlicher Solar Management will not be affected by the changes at the parent company.

“We operate completely independent of the German organisation and are therefore not directly affected by the parent’s filing. Our business partners can rely 100% on us to continue to execute projects to the highest standards,” said Stefan Parhofer, management board member of Gehrlicher Solar AG and CEO of Gehrlicher Solar America.

Gehrlicher currently employs around 250 people and recorded a turnover in 2011 of US$415 million (€323 million).

“We have been working for the energy revolution since 1994, long before the term came into fashion, because we have always believed in the potential of photovoltaics,” said Klaus Gehrlicher the company’s founder and CEO.

“Even though I am personally very much disappointed, we are proud that, together with other pioneers of the solar industry, we have the privilege to be one of the trailblazers of affordable solar energy around the world,” added Gehrlicher.

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