Troubled solar, wind energy giant SunEdison Inc. (SUNE) Files For bankruptcy protection to address ‘liquidity issues’
Clean energy giant SunEdison Inc. is filing for bankruptcy protection as financial and legal problems mount for the Missouri company.
SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE) said Thursday it filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in an effort to restructure its balance sheet and ensure a future for the troubled solar and wind developer.
SunEdison has seen its share price plunge by 99 percent since last summer as its aggressive growth strategy raised concerns about the firm’s ability to pay its large debt obligations. The developer is also under scrutiny by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulators over concerns about the company’s accounting practices.
SunEdison’s publicly traded spinoffs, TerraForm Power (NASDAQ:TERP) and TerraForm Global (NASDAQ:GLBL) are not part of the filing, the company said.
“Our decision to initiate a court-supervised restructuring was a difficult but important step to address our immediate liquidity issues,” Ahmad Chatila, SunEdison’s CEO, said in a statement Thursday.
SunEdison owes creditors nearly $10 billion after a flurry of recent acquisitions left it with too little cash, regulatory filings show.
The company and its subsidiary TerraForm Power acquired First Wind LLC for $2.4 billion in May, positioning SunEdison as the world’s largest developer of solar and wind power. It struck 17 other deals last year and another nine deals in 2014, snapping up solar-panel installers and battery startups and expanding its footprint into Honduras and the Philippines, market researcher FactSet said.
But several of its acquisition deals have recently unraveled, sparking legal battles. SunEdison in July announced a deal to buy residential solar company Vivint Solar for about $2.2 billion in cash, stock and notes. But the deal was delayed and renegotiated down to $1.9 billion. Then Vivint canceled the merger agreement in March and filed a lawsuit after SunEdison missed deadlines to close the transactions.
Other scuttled deals include the $700 million purchase of Latin American Power, the $600 million purchase of India-based Continuum Wind Energy and a $300 million deal to buy Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy SA.
As deals crumbled and cash evaporated, SunEdison delayed filing its annual 2015 financial report in February and again in March. The company blamed the lapse on an internal investigation into its financial position and “material weaknesses” in its financial report related to problems with a new IT system. Former executives have alleged that SunEdison misrepresented its liquidity position, although no wrongdoing has been found.
By Thursday’s Chapter 11 filing in Manhattan bankruptcy court, the shares were trading at about 34 cents.
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