Ecostream, a company that accounts for 6-8% of First Solar’s (FSLR) orders, is in ongoing discussions to be purchased by Dutch utility Eneco from its now bankrupt parent company Econcern.
Econcern, a holding company with a diverse portfolio of alternative energy projects, entered bankruptcy last Friday. Elroy Bos, a spokesman for the company says it “tried to do too many things at the same time, including several innovations that took a lot of money to bring to market.”
In 2008, the company had a negative result, which was “contrary to the condition in our financing agreement of growth in turnover and positive results,” Bos tells us. Econcern couldn’t find new finances in the middle of the financial crisis. Greentech Media points out, “It’s quite a downfall for the 25-year-old company that had built itself into one of the world’s largest renewable energy developers, with about 1,200 employees and 2007 profits of €85 million ($121 million).”
When Econcern began suspending payments two weeks ago, analysts warned that it would negatively affect First Solar. However, those warnings look overblown now. Talks are ongoing to sell Ecostream, the solar arm of Econcern, Bos says. Econcern has already sold other businesses to Eneco, including Ecofys, a consultancy and Evelop which offers renewable energy and efficiency project development.
We’re waiting to hear back from First Solar on whether or not they were expecting payment from Ecostream this quarter. However, over the long run, it looks like this bankruptcy won’t disrupt First Solar badly, if at all.
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