Business: Court case over blade firm deal - Ventizz seeks sale reversal

German wind developer PNE Wind has hit trouble over the sale of its majority share in Danish rotor blade company SSP Technology to private equity fund company Ventizz.

Sixteen months after the sale in June 2008, Ventizz has brought a court case against PNE Wind, formerly known as Plambeck Neue Energien.

Ventizz wants to return the 67.26% stake it acquired in SSP back to the developer, seeking a full refund of the EUR34.54 million it paid, plus additional costs totalling EUR19.74 million, says PNE.

The case is being brought before the Stade district court in Germany. The claim against PNE Wind is based largely on alleged errors in the corporate planning for SSP Technology, as submitted during contract negotiations, says PNE. Separately, Ventizz is demanding payment of EUR8.64 million for an alleged breach of a warranty relating to SSP Technology accounts that were outlined in the share purchase agreement back in 2008, according to PNE.

Rainer Heinsohn, a spokesman for PNE, declines to comment further, saying "the company does not belong to us and we consider the court case to be unfounded". The case will not have a significant effect on the results for the current business year, says PNE, adding that as the situation currently stands, provisions are only being made to cover legal costs.

Recession blues

In late October, SSP Technology admitted to being affected by the worldwide downturn. Two large rounds of redundancies have taken place in which many skilled employees were let go because of falling order intake, the company reports.

New managers have been recruited, however, including Soren Brouer, who has previously worked as senior vice-president for Vestas Northern Europe. Last summer Brouer said the rotor blade company was "a somewhat different size to that I am used to, but the fact is that SSP is a very exciting company with a huge potential which I will do my best to develop even further". He declined to reveal figures on SSP's 2008 sales and number of employees, however.