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Energy

German court kicks off insolvency proceedings for wind park group Prokon

Three months after German wind park group Prokon filed for bankruptcy, a district court has announced the official start of insolvency proceedings. Investors are still hoping to get at least some of their money back.

The district court at Itzehoe in northern Germany said Thursday insolvency proceedings had begun with regard to the Prokon's renewable energy division. Other segments of the firm's business were not facing bankruptcy.

The court said the company's regenerative energy business faced claims of 391 million euros ($542 million), compared with liquid funds of just 19 million euros.

Insolvency administrator Dietmar Penzlin had indicated investors still had a chance of seeing at least some of their money back.

Rude awakening

Prokon had lured investors with aggressive ad campaigns on prime-time television, in buses and commuter trains. Prokon hoped government support of the renewable energy sector combined with low interest rates elsewhere in the market would drive in investors.

Prokon: Millions gone with the wind?

The company operating 50 wind parks in Germany and neighboring Poland had raised 1.4 billion euros by touting profit participation rights and promises of returns of at least 6 percent annually.

Following questions in the media about the generous yields on capital and whether those were backed by actual earnings, investors began to pull out. That drove the company over the edge.

The insolvency dealt a blow to thousands of people who had hoped to profit from Germany's shift from nuclear to renewable power, such as wind and solar.

hg / kpc (AFP, dpa)

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