With global stock markets roiled by the COVID-19 rout to traditional safe haven investments such as gold, Finnish solar manufacturer Valoe Corp has extended a crucial fundraising exercise for a second time.
The company launched a €3.5 million convertible bond issue with a 45-day subscription period in November and then extended the exercise by three months.
The fundraising was set to expire yesterday – with Valoe itself having signed up to 16 million of the 38.9 million bonds in issue – but the deadline was further extended on Thursday, until May 5.
Valoe needs to raise cash to keep its long drawn-out purchase of a €3.5 million cell manufacturing facility in Lithuania on track. The Finnish company missed a December deadline to find €1.1 million of the money owed for the fab to its owner, Lithuanian solar manufacturer Solitek and its parent company Global BOD. With the terms of payment for the factory already renegotiated five times, Valoe also needs to raise an estimated €1.2 million to integrate the interdigitated back contact (IBC) production equipment it purchased from defunct Italian solar producer Megacell Srl in a fire sale.
On top of those commitments, Valoe also needs to repay a short-term €500,000 loan – plus unspecified interest – which it borrowed from chief investor Winance Investment last month and which is due to be settled on May 5, the day the convertible bond subscription is now set to expire.
A $12 million (€10.7 million) cell supply deal with an unnamed U.S. customer trailed by Valoe is said to be contingent on production starting in a timely manner in Lithuania, as well as hitting specified margins and profitability. The cells were originally meant to be flowing out of the Lithuanian fab in the second half of last year and Valoe CEO Iikka Savisalo told pv magazine in December that deadline had been moved to the end of this month.
That ambition could be tested by the spread of COVID-19, however, with the Lithuanian government confirming the first case had arrived in the country on February 28. The quarantine period announced nationwide by the government yesterday has not closed down private sector businesses, with such concerns simply advised to offer home working where possible. Restrictions have been applied, however, on visits from abroad and on long distance and suburban public transport until at least March 30.
Valoe is due to present its full-year results for 2019 at the end of the month.