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In bankruptcy, the German manufacturer of wind turbines Senvion will be sold in the cut


The company has not found a buyer to save it from dismantling. Some 4,000 jobs are threatened.

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Wind turbines in Sieversdorf, East Germany, July 2018. PATRICK PLEUL / AFP

After several months of uncertainty and rumors, the bad news finally fell, Wednesday, August 28: Senvion has not found a buyer willing to buy the company in its entirety. The number four wind farm in Germany, declared bankrupt in April, will be sold in the cuts in the next few weeks. "We are on the cusp of finding a solution for much of our core business," said Yves Rannou, the group's French boss based in the Hamburg area.

The outcome is expected September 10: next Tuesday, a committee of creditors will meet to decide the fate of Senvion. Potential acquirers - direct competitors or financial investors - would have shown interest in a portion of the business, including the service division. The other divisions will be liquidated, the staff fired. The coup is tough for the 4,000 employees of the group, including 1,800 in the Rhine, but also for Yves Rannou, who came to order in January after a long career at Alstom, then at General Electric.

But for Senvion, the difficulties had begun long before the arrival of the new boss. Founded in 2001 under the name of Repower Systems, Senvion was bought in 2015 by the US investment fund Centerbridge in Suzlon, the Indian wind giant, for 400 million euros. The group then embarked on an expensive strategy of expansion abroad, while preparing its IPO.

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Delays and penalties

Under the effect of headwinds, this strategy has come to a standstill. On the European market, public aid to the sector has become scarce, their conditions of production have hardened, and competition has intensified, pulling prices down. The German national market has collapsed after years of euphoria and represents only 20% of Senvion's turnover, compared to 60% in 2016.

At the same time, the group, despite its modest size, has been very ambitious internationally. Maybe a little too much: on big projects, the delays accumulated and, with them, the penalties. Result, in 2018, Senvion achieved only 1.45 billion euros of turnover, instead of the 1.9 billion originally planned. Despite a burgeoning order book, the company suffered losses three years in a row. At the same time, its debt swelled more and more, to exceed one billion euros at the beginning of the year.

Source: lemonde

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