DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Frank Asbeck, founder and former CEO of SolarWorld, has teamed up with Qatar to buy two of the insolvent panel maker’s factories, sources familiar with the matter said.
Qatar was a shareholder in SolarWorld with a stake of 29 percent before its collapse, while Asbeck held 21 percent.
The plants, located in the German states of Saxony and Thuringia, will be taken over by a new investment vehicle called SolarWorld Industries GmbH, which counts Asbeck and the Qatar Foundation as its owners, the sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
SolarWorld’s insolvency administrator Horst Piepenburg confirmed that Asbeck was one of the entity’s shareholders, but declined to give more details about other parties, saying that the planned purchase would save 475 of the group’s 1,800 jobs.
Piepenburg is also still looking for buyers for SolarWorld’s solar parks as well as the group’s assets in the United States.
Once Europe’s biggest solar power equipment group, SolarWorld was overwhelmed by Chinese rivals who had long been a thorn in the side of Asbeck, once known as “the Sun King”. The company filed for insolvency in May.
At 1306 GMT, shares in SolarWorld were down 8.6 percent at 1.13 euros per share. (Reporting by Anneli Palmen and Alexander Huebner; writing by Christoph Steitz; editing by Alexander Smith)