Prokon insolvency attracts possible buyers of assets, rights

Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:12am EST

* Capital Stage interested in wind parks

* Dutch hedge fund to make offer for profit participation rights

* Prokon filed for insolvency on Wednesday

DUESSELDORF, Germany, Jan 24 (Reuters) - German wind park group Prokon's assets and profit-participation rights are attracting possible buyers after it declared insolvency earlier this week.

Capital Stage, a Hamburg-based operator of wind and solar parks, is interested in buying some of Prokon's wind parks, a company spokesman said on Friday.

"The acquisition of existing parks is part of our business," he said, adding that the group would wait until insolvency proceedings were opened to get in touch with the administrator.

Prokon, which operates 50 wind parks in Germany and Poland and employs roughly 1,300 staff, filed for insolvency on Wednesday.

Its founder Carsten Rodbertus said on Thursday he had already begun talks on the sale of individual wind parks.

Prokon had raised 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion) mainly from retail investors by selling so-called profit participation rights, which were marketed through advertising campaigns on German prime-time television.

Profit-participation certificates offer high interest payments, but the investor also participates in the losses of a company. The securities rank behind the claims of other creditors such as banks and employees, but unlike shares, they do not give holders any say in management.

Dutch hedge fund Exchange Investors said it was interested in buying certificates from holders. "We want to make a concrete offer in about two weeks," Frank Scheunert, head of the fund, said.

"We won't offer a lot."

Prokon's financial liabilities amounted to 59 million euros as of end-October, it said. From its formation in 1995 to the end of October, the company accumulated losses of 210 million euros in losses, while paying out 330 million euros in interest to rights holders.

Prokon's insolvency came after consumer groups accused it of attracting investors with promises of possible returns of at least 6 percent a year without giving sufficient warning of the risks.

After German media reports questioned whether Prokon's generous payouts were backed by actual profits, investors began asking for their money back, and the company ran out of funds.

Top German utilities E.ON and RWE, which operate wind parks, both said they were not interested in Prokon assets.

Prokon had warned earlier this month it might have to file for insolvency, because too many investors were demanding their money back. ($1 = 0.7310 euros) (Reporting by Anneli Palmen and Tom Kaeckenhoff in Duesseldorf, Arno Schuetze and Alexander Huebner in Frankfurt and Jan Schwartz in Hamburg; Writing by Christoph Steitz; editing by Jane Baird)

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