True Value mess or progress?

There is more than meets the eye with the True Value Solar buyout by German-based M W Group, but with court distractions potentially behind it, can it now move forward in recovering lost market share?

Fascinating news out this week is that the parent of True Value Solar (M W Group) has raised its stake in True Value Solar from 65 per cent to 100 per cent.

We published an interview with former CEO Suren Chandrajit last year, digging for information on what was behind the company’s rise to the top of the solar volume leader board but only a few months later, Chandrajit resigned.

There is perhaps an intriguing lesson behind this story for solar companies on rapid growth trajectories.

We became aware from public records that a court case in the Supreme Court of Victoria had started last year between one of the TVS founders (Gavin Fernandez) and the M W group.

Just what the stoush was about isn’t overly clear but it’s safe to speculate that something in the relationship had broken down; legal cases are time consuming, expensive and inevitably a massive distraction to the business.

As we predicted last year, this distraction did indeed have an impact on the businesses performance with TVS’s market share dropping by almost half to around 5 per cent, according to data from various sources.

Co-incidentally, TVS’s closest competitor in the Solar Retail space (Origin Energy) also seems to have lost its way – or its interest – in solar PV, despite many years of success.

Given their combined lost market share, this has arguably opened up the opportunity for other retailers to challenge for the leading spot and potentially a flattening out of the leader board volumes across a larger number of players.

So we have a buyout form a large international company, a meteoric rise up the leader boards, then a resignation of the CEO, a legal fight, declining market share and now a buyout.

The next phase in TVS’s history will be a very, very interesting one. Will M W re-focus the company’s efforts and re-gain the lost market share? Or conversely, has it just bought itself the way out of a legal fight and has little interest? Have the market demographics changed such that TVS’s offer is less attractive today? If M W do revitalise the company, how will it do it? What does it mean for Origin and other PV retailers?

Certainly TVS COO Bob Mathews is optimistic saying, “Needless to say True Value Solar is very excited about our future and the future of the solar industry.”

This will be an interesting story to watch, that’s for sure.

Nigel Morris is the Director of Solar Business Services.

This article was originally published by SolarBusinessServices. Republished with permission.