Germany: Asset Deal Finalised – Wagner Brand Lives On

On 6 September 2014, the Dutch Sanderink Holding acquired the assets of German collector manufacturer Wagner & Co Solartechnik. In a press release, the insolvency administrator, Dr Jan Markus Plathner from Brinkmann & Partner, confirmed that the investor took over all three core business divisions of Wagner Solartechnik - collector manufacturing, photovoltaic wholesale and support system production – and all assets would be transferred to a subsidiary of Sanderink Holding called Wagner Solar GmbH with headquarters in Cölbe, Germany. The brand name Wagner will continue.
 
“This is a great success because it was hard work to find an investor which could give Wagner a future in the currently difficult market environment,” Plathner stressed in a press release which was sent out on 8 September 2014. “Only due to the willingness of all sides to make concessions were we able to implement the restructuring strategy and thus retain most of the employees.”
 
The investor will employ 80 former Wagner staff at its German office and production sites in Cölbe and Kirchhain in the middle of Germany. Wagner Solartechnik still had 150 employees when the company filed for bankruptcy on 22 April 2014. Sanderink´s subsidiary Wagner Solar will be headed by Brigitte van Egten, a solicitor with experience in the renewable sector – van Egten is also Managing Director of Dutch Solar Systems, a renewables wholesaler and project planning company within the Sanderink Group. She will be supported by two former Wagner Solartechnik employees: Andreas Knoch will become Director of Sales and Technology, and Michael Fina will be Director of Purchase, Production and Logistics.
 
Asset deal benefits creditors, not shareholders
The asset deal means that all assets, such as buildings, land, production equipment, customer databases and material, are transferred one by one to a new legal entity. The revenues generated will go to Wagner Solartechnik’s creditors, eg, the banks or suppliers. The former shareholders – mostly former Wagner Solartechnik employees – will not receive any compensation for their stake in the company. 
 
The Wagner Solartechnik sales offices in Italy, Spain, the USA and the UK were entities independent of the German parent company and will therefore still have to be managed by administrator Plathner, even after the asset transfer has been completed. “Negotiations with the international sales offices are ongoing,” Sebastian Brunner, the administrator’s spokesperson, confirms. Different options are being discussed, from a close-down of the sales offices and a management buyout to their purchase by the Sanderink Group or by a third party. The next weeks will show whether the brand Wagner will also live on abroad. 
 
The Dutch Sanderink Group is an international company group whose original focus was on IT, but which is now also in the business for infrastructure projects, environmental engineering and renewable energies. The group generates an annual turnover of around EUR 2.5 billion.
 
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