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VVPR: VivoPower International PLC and the Solae Value Chain


The alphaDIRECT Insight

VivoPower is uniquely positioned to capture the immense opportunity in the dynamic and evolving solar industry, driven by three major factors. First, solar power has emerged as a major source of electricity world-wide, particularly as commercial and industrial companies buy power directly. Second, the small and mid-sized sector offers attractive partnership opportunities with local and regional developers. Third, a growing list of institutional investors have targeted solar investments and depend on reliable operating companies to build and operate their project investments. We believe that these three factors create a significant growth runway, which supports a capital-light, high return financial model. This report will focus on VivoPower’s unique strategy and business model.

Shawn Severson: Philip, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Let’s begin by talking about your background and what brought you to VivoPower.

Philip Comberg: Yes, thank you, Shawn. Having actually spent the first half of my professional career primarily in investment banking and principal investing I have had an extensive background in the international solar market in the past decade. It allowed me to get a deep insight of how to navigate the challenges of our dynamic and rapidly evolving industry. I have seen both the positive examples of what works and the mistakes that have been made in the industry and we have designed VivoPower’s business strategy accordingly to make it a success.

My first experience in the solar industry was as a board member of NASDAQ listed Chinese solar manufacturing company Solarfun which was taken over by Hanwha and following the acquisition of QCells ultimately became Hanwha QCells, one of the largest panel manufacturers in the world. I have retained deep relationships within the Chinese solar industry since then.

In 2011, I was asked to become the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Germany’s largest solar company at the time, Conergy, which had, unfortunately, gone into distress and had been taken over by its creditors, mainly US hedge funds. I lead the company through a painful, deep restructuring and successfully sold it to two US financial investors. This experience crystalized for me, in a very detailed and granular way, the opportunities and some of the challenges that the industry faces on a global basis.

Following the sale, I stayed on as a non-executive board member and was then asked by one of the two investors, Magnetar Capital, to help them build a solar-generating portfolio in the United Kingdom. Over a 15-month period we assembled over 300 megawatts of shovel ready solar projects which we built and which now forms one of the largest portfolios of operational solar power assets in the United Kingdom. During this period, I also became non-executive Chairman of Solarcentury, a leading London based developer and EPC company,

So, I bring to Vivo over a decade of experience in a senior management role in both public and private companies with experience in the entire value chain of the industry, from manufacturing to development, acquisitions, financing and operations. It is with that experience, that we have designed VivoPower to capitalize on a very exciting and high-growth opportunity in the new solar energy world.