New owners for Vergnet

FRANCE: A consortium led by asset management company Arum International has been given the go ahead by the courts to take over troubled French turbine manufacturer Vergnet.

Typhoon turbine specialist Vergnet has been saved by a consortium of investors
Typhoon turbine specialist Vergnet has been saved by a consortium of investors

Vergnet was placed in receivership in August, citing severe cash flow problems, partly due to a delayed solar project in Nigeria.

Once the final details are in place, the consortium will take over the 42% stake in Vergnet held by Banque Publique d'Investissement (BPi), giving it effective control of the company.

The consortium — comprising Arum International, GEM Capital NY, Krief Group, Luxembourg Utilities and Sun PR — will also take over Vergnet's liabilities, which will be paid off over ten years or converted into shares.

As soon as the share transfer is completed, Patrick Werner, head of Arum International, will step in as CEO, nominate a new board and present the consortium's business plan to the court in late January.

Although the details are not yet clear, the consortium has indicated it "believes in Vergnet's business model and will give the company the means to achieve its objectives and to realise its commercial pipeline," said Marc Rivard, Vergnet's sales director. It will also retain the 140 employees.

In the meantime, as soon as a new board is in place, Vergnet will be able to resume normal activities and start signing contracts.

Among these are likely to be a 12MW wind power project in Guadeloupe, to be equipped with eight Sinovel 1.5MW turbines adapted for cyclonic conditions, under a partnership agreement signed in 2015.

Also in line is a project to design and install a cyclone-proof hybrid wind and solar system in Antigua, featuring Vergnet's 275kW turbines.

And in Ethiopia, Vergnet plans to build a 21MW extension to the Ashegoda plant, probably also with Sinovel turbines.

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