Solar Millennium AG (ISIN DE0007218406) has no indications whatsoever that the company committed any legal offenses upon the appointment of former CEO Prof. Utz Claassen or in the 74 days of his time in office.
"We’ve put all our legal resources in motion and thus far have come to the conclusion that there were no irregularities," explained Dr. Christoph Wolff, CEO of the company. "We have retained one of the best law firms in the world – Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom – to let speak the facts. We want an implicit clarification and the constant accusations must be put to rest. We are getting to the bottom of the matter. An intermediate result shows that there has been no indication thus far for any of the accusations."
Wolff has been the CEO since the start of 2011. With the support of his colleagues on the Executive and Supervisory Boards, he had retained the law firm Skadden that had already brought forward an intermediate result at the company’s annual general meeting on 18 May. The corporate governance expert of Skadden, Dr. Bernd Mayer, stated: "Our investigations thus far have not been able to confirm the legal offenses brought about." The law firm has been involved in the investigation for months and hopes to present the final report on the informal special audit in September.
Against this backdrop, the company is surprised that an older intermediate report by a local law firm has suddenly been leaked to the media and was made public, after having been commissioned back in 2010 and not continued. It alleges that the Supervisory Board committed violations of stock corporation law in the scope of appointing Claassen. "This is an intermediate result of an investigation commissioned in 2010, which is based exclusively on the evaluation of the contract agreement between the Supervisory Board and the former CEO. However, according to information by our legal consultants, this basis for evaluation is not meaningful. In fact we want to know what really happened at that time. The individual and the attendant circumstances were ultimately out of the ordinary, and aside from the current legal dispute, it is our duty to come up with our own assessment of the events at that time," said Wolff.
The special audit currently being carried out by Skadden therefore also expressly includes the order to the law firm Bissel from the year 2010, which has now been made the topic of a press report. "The renowned expert that we commissioned, Prof. Dr. Alfred Dierlamm, has come to an initial, preliminary conclusion that disagrees with the conclusion from the Bissel intermediate report at the time. It accounts for only the wording of the contract, and not the context or the circumstances of the origin of the contract. It shows no indication whatsoever of any breach of trust," Skadden partner Mayer explained.
The public prosecutor’s office has sent a corresponding letter of inquiry to the company, but at the moment only preliminary investigations are being carried out. The company is working closely with the authorities and has made all requested documents available.
The final result of the expert opinion of Prof. Dierlamm will be released in September with the informal special report. "We expressly support this rigorous investigation, as we are convinced that we can only put the attacks, campaigns and latent accusations to rest once and for all by being transparent and open," stated Helmut Pflaumer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Solar Millennium.
Solar Millennium AG, Erlangen, (ISIN DE0007218406) is an international company in the renewable energy sector, with its main focus on solar-thermal power plants. Together with its subsidiaries and associates, the Company specializes in parabolic trough power plants and has managed to take a globally leading position in this field. Solar Millennium strives to further extend its expertise in the area of solar-thermal power plants with the aim of achieving and securing sustainable technology leadership.
As such, the Company covers all important business sectors along the value chain for solar-thermal power plants: from project development and financing to the technology and the turnkey construction and operation of power plants. In Spain, Solar Millennium developed Europe’s first parabolic trough power plants and realized these together with partners. Additional projects are planned around the world with an overall capacity of more than 2,000 megawatts: here the current regional focus is on Spain, the US, the Middle East and North Africa.
Solar-thermal power plants generate electricity by converting solar radiation into heat energy. In a parabolic trough power plant, trough-shaped mirrors concentrate the incidental radiation onto a pipe in the focal line of the collector. Its absorption heats a fluid heat medium in the pipe, generating steam in the power block through a heat exchanger. As in conventional power plants, the steam powers a turbine to generate electricity. By integrating thermal storage, electricity can be supplied on demand, even after sunset.