Evergreen Solar's EverQ Delays IPO, Becomes "Sovello"

Prince, aka The Symbol, aka TAFKAP, has nothing on cleantech companies these days. Last week, Aptera’s three-wheeled Typ-1 became the 2e, and SunEthanol renamed itself Qteros the week before that. Now we have Germany-based solar manufacturer EverQ, which late last month became Sovello AG. The name change for this joint venture from Evergreen Solar (s ESLR), Q-Cells and Renewable Energy Corp. (s REC) comes as part of a larger move to independence, the details of which were unveiled yesterday. According to Cleantech Group, Sovello will take on responsibility for its market position and marketing. It has also switched to a public limited company from a limited liability company, a move designed to make it easier for Sovello to acquire outside capital for expansion that Evergreen had previously planned to finance.

Sovello also said it will put its public offering on hold. As we reported in late 2007, EverQ’s parent companies had been discouragingly vague about a timeline for the spinoff, committing only to preparing the venture for its IPO, not actually seeing it through.

Leaving flexibility to back out now appears to have been a smart move for the venture. In 2007, publicly traded solar companies were seeing enough gains for us to wonder if it might be the year of solar stock. More than 12 months later, however, despite a recent rally for the sector and Sovello’s relatively firm foundation (EverQ ramped up production to 90 megawatts with two plants in Thalheim, Germany, and reported a 115-percent rise in sales for the first three quarters of this year over the same period in 2007), the market looks quite different. Case in point: Q-Cells, Germany’s largest solar manufacturer, led a decline in shares of solar companies in Frankfurt trading after delayed orders from customers and tight financing forced it to cut earnings forecasts for 2008 and 2009.