August 29, 2012 / 1:35 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Q-Cells creditors approve sale to Hanwha

(Adds detail, background, shares)

DUESSELDORF, Germany, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Creditors of insolvent German solar company Q-Cells have approved a takeover offer by South Korean group Hanwha, a bid that was challenged earlier this week by Spanish firm Isofoton, a Q-Cells spokesman said on Wednesday.

Hanwha Chemical, an affiliate of Hanwha Group, had said it planned to pay 40 million euros ($50 million) for Q-Cells and would also take on liabilities worth 850 million Malaysian ringgit ($273 million) from its Malaysian unit.

Spanish solar group Isofoton, along with an unnamed U.S.-based fund, had launched a rival bid on Monday, saying it wanted to pump 300 million euros into Q-Cells, which had to file for insolvency in April.

The company, once the world’s largest maker of solar cells, became the most prominent victim so far in an industry shakeout that was caused by oversupply of cells and falling government subsidies for solar power.

Other prominent groups, including Solon, Solar Millennium and U.S.-based Solyndra, had previously fallen victim to the crisis.

After going public in 2005, Q-Cells went on to become the world’s No.1 maker of solar cells but lost that title in 2009, as cheaper Asian rivals ate into the company’s market share.

At their peak in late 2007, shares in the company, headquartered in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, once the hub of the former East Germany’s chemicals industry, were worth almost 84 euros.

At 1309 GMT, they traded at 0.15 euro. ($1 = 0.7958 euro = Malaysian ringgits) (Reporting by Anneli Palmen; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Helen Massy-Beresford)

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