SolarWorld may delay annual press conference amid debt talks-CEO

DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT, March 12 Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:40am EDT

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DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT, March 12 (Reuters) - Debt-laden SolarWorld may delay the date for its annual press conference, set for March 21, if it fails to clinch a deal with its creditors on a debt restructuring by then, the company's chief executive told Reuters.

"If we don't have an agreement with banks until then, an annual press conference doesn't make any sense," Frank Asbeck said.

SolarWorld, once Germany's largest solar group, is suffering from a crisis caused by overcapacity of cells and modules, falling government subsidies for solar power and cheaper Asian rivals, causing it to warn bondholders in January of a debt restructuring.

At the end of September 2012, the company had long-term debt of 1.03 billion euros ($1.34 billion).

Asbeck also said SolarWorld appointed restructuring expert Hans-Gerd Jauch as well as investment bank Houlihan Lokey to advise it during its current debt crisis.

Jauch, a partner at German law firm Goerg, is currently insolvency administrator for failed German retailer Arcandor and is considered an expert in Germany's updated insolvency law, under which companies can file for protection from creditors.

SolarWorld is the latest German solar group to announce debt restructuring measures, following former heavyweights Conergy and Q-Cells, which filed for insolvency last year after months of grappling with creditors.

Lavish power generation subsidies made Germany the world's largest market for solar power. Soaring costs led the government to slash so-called feed-in tariffs, which the industry needs while solar power is more costly to produce than conventional forms of energy, such as coal and gas.

($1 = 0.7684 euros) (Reporting by Anneli Palmen and Alexander Huebner; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Noah Barkin)

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