The takeover of Heliocentris by Odasco nearly a year ago was meant to save the ailing business, but it is now clear that the attempt at a turnaround has failed. When newly founded Odasco Heliocentris Europe filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 3, 2017, work at both company locations, Wendlingen and Munich, had already halted. Proceedings started Sept. 1 last year.
Throughout 2017, the fuel cell manufacturer had to deal with a shortage in liquidity, which reportedly led to employees either going on strike or quitting their job. Some of Heliocentris’ former staff had already indicated in previous conversations with H2-international that the takeover had not brought about any fundamental change in the way the company was run. Many experienced people left Odasco Heliocentris, making it impossible to keep the business afloat.
During last year’s Supplier Marketplace event on Sept. 20 in Berlin, Hartmut Kordus told the hydrogen and fuel cell community that he had acquired the assets of the Wendlingen location. Kordus, an electrical engineer specializing in telecommunications and renewable energies, is the head of both adKor, based in Wildau, and an engineering firm located in Zeuthen, near Berlin. He has been involved in the design and installation of cell phone towers, among other things. By his own account, his company has the “most fuel cell units for BOS radio towers on the market,” around 120 systems (see also 116 radio masts are equipped with FC systems).
Despite a temporarily suspended phone line, the Heliocentris’ Wendlingen location has since become home to the development of fuel cell-based uninterruptible power supply. Last November, it was reported that employees at the site had resumed their work, although under entirely new management. Kordus had been able to convince one of the three former CEOs of FutureE Fuel Cell Solutions, Siegfried Limmer, to join the company. Together with a small team, Limmer intends to shore up support for existing systems and set up new installations. On Aug. 21, 2017, he founded a new company called FutureE.
Düsseldorf-based lawyer Jan-Philipp Hoos from White & Case Insolvenz was appointed the trustee in the bankruptcy case. He is collaborating with his Berlin-based colleague Joachim Voigt-Salus, the trustee during the previous Heliocentris proceedings.
Kordus told H2-international that adKor and FutureE had signed a cooperation agreement, which had allowed the company to finish fulfilling an order by the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf utility for the manufacture and installation of five UPS fuel cell systems. The order was placed in as early as last May, but Odasco Heliocentris no longer had the resources to complete it. Instead, more than 50 percent of the contract value had subsequently been paid by Kordus to Odasco Heliocentris to cover outstanding bills, he said.
With these five new units coming online, the two company heads intend to signal to existing customers and to prospects that the business can guarantee long-term reliable support for UPS systems. Asked about the business’s outlook, Limmer said that the aim was to “eventually grow again with the expected influx of orders.”
Now-defunct P21, based in Munich, used to serve as a second business location. It has since been shut down, and all employment contracts have been terminated. Hoos said that its non-tangible assets, such as the software tools for the P21 Energy Manager, would be sold off very soon.