FRANKFURT Germany's Conergy CGYGk.DE is close to striking deal that would see an Asian investor take a substantial stake in the company, once Europe's top solar group, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
According to the people, the investor would take over a 261.5 million euros ($340 million) syndicated loan agreement closed by Conergy and ten banks - led by Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) - in 2011, and would pump 50 million euros of equity into the group.
"We are nearing a deal to finally get an investor in and all banks out," one of the people said, adding the investor could take a stake of just below 30 percent in the group.
A spokeswoman for Conergy, whose shares rose 12 percent to 0.395 euros apiece after the news, declined to comment.
Conergy, which had sales of 473.5 million euros and an operating loss of 83 million last year, used to be Europe's largest solar company but was hit by plunging prices for solar panels that have driven many peers into insolvency, including former heavyweights Q-Cells QCEG.UL and Solon (SOOG.MU).
During the peak of the solar boom in 2007, Conergy's market capitalization was more than 2.2 billion euros. It now stands at 57 million euros.
The planned deal comes after peer SolarWorld SWVG.DE last month said it would let Qatar become a new major shareholder in the group if it could secure the backing of bondholders.
($1 = 0.7693 euros)
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Harro ten Wolde and Mark Potter)