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Germany

Germany

Prokon files for insolvency

GERMANY: Wind farm developer Prokon has filed for insolvency following the withdrawal of capital by a number of investors.

Workers installing Prokon's 3MW prototype turbine
Workers installing Prokon's 3MW prototype turbine

The German company had previously secured funding through the unconventional route of selling profit-participation certificates to thousands of retail investors.

These certificates, of which the company sold €1.4 billion after heavily advertising them through television adverts, differ from shares in that they do not give the buyer a say in the running of the firm.

To draw investors in, the company offered exceptionally high returns of 6-8% at a time of low interest rates across Europe.

The company has been the subject of much criticism in the media recently as it continued to make losses.

Prokon said this was normal at this stage of the business and dismissed claims that it had lured in investors with promises of high returns without properly explaining the risks.

But the media speculation proved too much for the developer, with more and more investors demanding their money back, thus forcing the company into insolvency.

An administrator has now been appointed by a court in the northern German town of Itzehoe.

Some investors are likely to be wondering whether Prokon's decision to develop its own turbine was a wise one. The company took control of its turbine supply in 2008 and developed its own 3MW machine, installing a protoype in November last year.

Prokon has more than 50 wind farms across Germany and Poland and employs around 1,300 staff, according to its website.

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