Solar panel firm Solyndra files for bankruptcy
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
9/12/11 at 2:27 PM
View the voluntary petition for Solyndra LLC filed in bankruptcy court.
View the credit matrix for Solyndra LLC.
View the voluntary petition for Solyndra Inc. filed in bankruptcy court
View the credit matrix for Solyndra Inc.
Solyndra LLC, a solar panel maker with significant backing from the U.S. Department of Energy as well as the investment arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.
The expected filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., indicated that the Fremont, Calif.-based company has between $500 million and $1 billion in both assets and debts. More than $783 million of the debt was senior and secured, following a February restructuring, the closely held company said.
The filing indicates that Argonaut Ventures, an investment arm of the Tulsa-based foundation, holds almost 39 percent of Solyndra's parent, 360 Solar Degree Holdings Inc.
In an emailed statement to the Tulsa World, a representative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation said the organization made the investment through Argonaut.
"George Kaiser is not an investor in Solyndra and did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan," the statement said. "GKFF invests in a globally diversified portfolio across many different asset classes."
George Kaiser is chairman of BOK Financial Corp. and owner of Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. Argonaut is headed by Steve Mitchell, who also served on Solyndra's board of directors.
Solyndra received a loan guarantee of $535 million from the Department of Energy, of which the company has borrowed $527 million.
The only other investor with more than a 10 percent stake in the company is Madrone Partners of Palo Alto, Calif., which has a stake estimated at 13 percent.
Other Tulsa-area investors and investment entities among the hundreds with some stake in the company include Girasole Partners, HBA Holdings, Hilti, Lehighton Electronics, Lenox Investments LLC, Phil Frohlich, Rockport Capital Partners III, the Stacy Family Trust and StatSoft Inc.
Solyndra noted that it will either try to sell all or part of its business, or liquidate for the benefit of creditors.
In recent weeks, the Energy Department negotiated with Solyndra investors for bridge financing to give the company time to find a new source of capital, said W.G. Stover, chief financial officer. Solyndra was told Aug. 30 there was no financing, he said.
On Aug. 31, the company shut down, laying off all but a 113-member skeleton crew from its work force of 1,100.
Solyndra produced cylindrical panels that convert sunlight into electricity using a thin-film technology based on copper-indium-gallium-diselenide. The panels are generally used on large commercial buildings.
David Miller, director of corporate communications, said Solyndra's collapse stems from an oversupply of low-price panels produced by foreign manufacturers who get funding from their governments, as well as reduced European incentives for buying solar energy products.
The biggest unsecured claims are held by two trade creditors: Schott North America, owed $7.7 million, and MGS Mfg. Group, owed $7.5 million. Unsecured lenders include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, owed $4.8 million; OZ Offshore Capital Lenders, with a $3.7 million loan; and US Venture Partners X LP, owed $3.5 million.
Bloomberg News contributedto this story.
Original Print Headline: Solar firm goes dim
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447
Jerold Perez, a maintenance operator, runs a check on equipment used to produce cylindrical shaped solar cell modules at the Solyndra Inc. manufacturing facility. The Fremont, Calif.-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday. KEN JAMES / Bloomberg
George Kaiser: An investment arm of his foundation holds almost 39 percent of Solyndra's parent.
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