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Hits keep on coming for UDI

It financed biomass and solar plants with the money of private investors


Pete Carvill

Troubled eco-investment company UDI received another blow this week when the Leipzig District Court in Germany opened insolvency proceedings on five of its companies.

The move, which was reported in Handelsblatt, is likely to be followed by similar decisions against three of its other companies.

According to Handelsblatt: “This makes it official: The UDI Group, which financed biomass and solar plants with the money of private investors, will not be restructured in self-administration. Rainer Langnickel’s management had been publicly pursuing this plan since May.”

Expert Investor has been one of the only UK-based publications following the UDI story in recent months. As we reported back in July, much of the company’s workings seemed, at best, murky.

After being founded in1998 by Georg Hetz, UDI had operated for over two decades, taking in €0.5bn from investors. But since December 2018, the company has switched hands multiple times.

As we wrote in July: “Hetz ran UDI for two decades but recent years have seen its ownership switch hands repeatedly. In December 2018, Hetz sold UDI to Stefan Keller, managing director of Munich-based TE Management. TE Management, in turn, sold UDI in October 2020, along with the company SKU Holding, to a company called Dalasy Beteiligungs- und Kapitalmanagement. That company is itself owned by another called Galoria. The managing director of Dalasy is Rainer Langnickel. After offloading UDI in October, TE Management filed for insolvency earlier this month.”

Much of the company’s operations remain hidden from view. A document forwarded to Expert Investor in July listed at least 168 entities as offshoots or sibling companies of UDI, with each one managing millions of euros in investments.

It was also apparent in July that multiple companies within UDI had been loaning millions to each other, money that now appears hard to trace.

UDI has been attempting to restructure itself in recent months to avoid ruin. According to Handelsblatt, 7,000 investors in one project were asked “[…] to agree to a debt haircut of up to 87%. Slightly less than half of investors are said to have agreed to the proposal. Investors now fear the worst, because UDI had already outlined horror scenarios in May”.

In August, a lawyer representing UDI’s clients told Expert Investor that a class-action lawsuit was on the way.

More on this story next week…