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Renewables

German solar firm Conergy files for insolvency

The Hamburg-based solar panel manufacturer Conergy has filed for insolvency. It is the latest business in Germany's solar energy industry to run into drastic financial upheaval.

Conergy filed for insolvency at the Hamburg district court on Friday. The company had long been suffering from Germany's solar industry crisis, but said they were "confident" of finding an investor to continue the business.

"The management remains confident of achieving a continuation of the whole business operations in the context of insolvency proceedings by means of an investor," it said in a statement.

The company, which employs around 1,200 people, was one of Germany's biggest solar cell makers in 2011. However, the industry has struggled with falling government subsidies and oversupply. China's ability to offer solar panels at cut rates has been particularly damaging, not just for Conergy but for all of Germany's solar panel producers.

Conergy was worth 2.2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) on the market just six years ago. At trading Friday morning the value of its stock plummeted nearly 70 percent to around 11 cents a share. In 2007 Conergy shares traded at more than 200 euros.

There had been hope last year when a Chinese firm was reportedly interested in investing in the company. A number of solar energy firms in Germany have been saved by foreign investors in recent years.

The Bonn-based SolarWorld is also on the brink of ruin after a severe price war, with bondholders set to meet next week to come up with a reorganization plan.

According to German government figures, 87,000 people were employed in the solar industry in 2012, down from 110,900 a year earlier. In that same time, whole sales dropped by 11.9 billion euros.

dr/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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