Project development business of Green City AG successfully sold

Munich, 03 June 2022. On 24th of May 2022, the insolvency administrator of Green City AG, attorney Axel W. Bierbach, reached an agreement with the independent French Energy Producer Qair on the acquisition of significant parts of Green City’s project development business.

Munich based Green City Group is a holistic provider for the development, construction, financing, and operation of renewable energy plants in Europe. By the end of 2021, the company with around 130 employees had implemented environmentally friendly power plants for wind turbines, solar projects, and hydropower with an output of over 300 MW in Germany, Italy, France and Spain. For its high sustainability standards and its commitment to the energy and transport transition, Green City AG has received widespread recognition, such as the Corporate Design Award 2019, the Mobility Award of the Munich Metropolitan Region 2018, the European Solar Award 2017, the Best Community Award 2016 and the Energy Globe Awards 2013.

Due to delays in various planned wind farms and solar projects as well as delivery problems regarding important components, partly due to the pandemic, the company ran into financial difficulties in autumn 2021. In addition, a major wind turbine was damaged. The attempt to stabilize the financial situation of the already heavily indebted company by taking on new investors failed.

On the 26th of January 2022, the management of Green City AG filed for insolvency at the Munich District Court and the experienced restructuring expert, attorney Axel W. Bierbach from the law firm Müller-Heydenreich Bierbach & Kollegen (Munich) was appointed preliminary insolvency administrator. Bierbach and his team, together with the management, succeeded in stabilizing and fully continuing the business operations. In the process, data collection and analysis of the actual economic situation of the approx. 150 domestic and foreign companies belonging to the Green City group of companies proved to be extremely challenging. In addition, the company’s readiness to be sold had to be established within a very short time by unbundling complex group structures and finding a way to separate numerous project companies from the overall group. This created the basic framework for a very extensive international structured investor process, which was initiated on the 7th of February 2022. After a selection from 200 international interested parties, an intensive negotiation phase with several bidders was entered. The creditors’ committee eventually decided to accept the offer from the French Qair Group which provided the most future-oriented continuation concept and the best solution quality for creditors and employees.

The acquiring company Qair is an independent energy producer from exclusively renewable sources that has been active in the development, construction, and operation of its own wind, solar and hydroelectric power plants for more than 30 years. Currently Qair operates renewable energy plants with an installed capacity of 650 MW and plans an increase to around 1 GW by the end of the year. Moreover, the company develops innovative projects and has positioned itself as a pioneer in floating offshore wind and green hydrogen projects with EolMed and Hyd’Occ, respectively.

Qair is represented in a total of 16 countries on the four continents of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. With the takeover of the established and operationally successful project development division of Green City AG, Qair succeeds in entering the German market.

“We are pleased to be able to continue Qair’s expansion course in Europe with this acquisition. The German market for renewable energies is the largest and most dynamic in Europe and we are very confident that we will be able to develop successfully in the German market thanks to the expertise of our new colleagues. With this market entry, we have also succeeded in transforming Qair into a true pan-European player for the development, construction, financing, and operation of renewable energy plants,” said Jochen Nüssle, CIO of the Qair Group.

The takeover takes place as a combination of asset and several share deals: The main assets of the project development area of Green City AG are taken over by the acquisition form of “asset deals”. In addition, the non-insolvent project companies attributable to the division as well as the domestic and foreign operating subsidiaries (including Green City Italia Srl, Green City France S.A.R.L, Green City Operations & Management GmbH) are transferred to the buyer by “share deals”. As part of this extensive continuation solution a significant part of Green City’s workforce will also be taken over on 1st of June 2022.

Axel W. Bierbach, insolvency administrator of Green City AG: “I am very happy that we have achieved our goals in such a short time in a highly professional investor process supported by ACXIT Capital Partners: With Qair we have found a buyer who will continue the promising project development business with not only almost the entire workforce of Green City but also with the cooperation partners involved. A significant purchase price to satisfy creditors was achieved. With the takeover of Green City AG by Qair, the economically and ecologically valuable projects for new power plants as well as the extensive know-how of the workforce can be retained. In view of the great challenges in the expansion of renewable energies in Germany, this is an important success.”

Existing projects are excluded from the transaction. This includes the projects in operation of the Green City Group companies GCE Kraftwerkspark I GmbH, Green City Energy Kraftwerkspark II GmbH & Co. KG, Green City Energy Kraftwerkspark III GmbH & Co. KG and Green City Solarimpuls I GmbH & Co. KG, which are also insolvent. Various solution options are currently being examined and a result can be expected in the upcoming weeks.

ACXIT Capital Partners acted as exclusive M&A advisor to the insolvency administration and Green City AG during the sale process. Legally, the insolvency administrator was advised by GÖRG and in tax matters by Rödl & Partner. Qair was legally advised by the law firms Anchor and Lighthouse.

About Müller-Heydenreich Bierbach & Kollegen

The law firm Müller-Heydenreich Bierbach & Kollegen is a partnership of lawyers that has been specializing in restructuring and insolvency administration for many years and has several offices located in Bavaria. Lawyer and insolvency administrator Axel W. Bierbach specializes in business continuity and restructuring in a wide range of industries. He has already accompanied a large number of insolvencies and has extensive experience in the energy sector. Most recently, he accompanied the insolvencies of the low-cost electricity providers BEV Bayerische Energieversorgungsgesellschaft mbH and Fulminant Energie GmbH. Bierbach is a member of the board of the German Association of Insolvency Administrators and Trustees and a member of the Gravenbrucher Kreis, the association of Germany’s leading national insolvency administrators and restructuring experts who act in accordance with the exclusive InsO Excellence standard.

About ACXIT

ACXIT Capital Partners is a leading international corporate finance and financial advisory firm for mid-market clients, and entrepreneurs in Europe and beyond. Since 1999, we offer our clients comprehensive corporate finance advisory services including M&A and capital markets advisory as well as debt and strategic advisory. As an independent, privately owned firm we maintain offices in Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich as well as strong alliances in the UK and France.

ACXIT Recovery develops and structures customized solutions for distressed Mergers & Acquisitions and focusses on financial restructuring for mid-size companies and insolvency administrators.

Transaction Lead ACXIT Capital Partners

Christian Nicolas Bächstädt, Managing Partner
Dr. Daniel Kiechle, Managing Director

 

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