As expected, beleaguered solar startup Solyndra has officially filed for bankruptcy. The company’s rise and fall has turned into the clean power controversy of the summer, having raised close to a billion dollars of funding from private investors, and drawn down on most of a $535 million loan from the U.S. government. You can read the full bankruptcy filing here on pacer (Case No. 11-12799) in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware.
- Solyndra is trying to sell itself before a firesale and plans to spend the next four weeks trying to find a buyer.
- Solyndra says it cut its prices in order to compete in the industry, but couldn’t match the “extended payment terms” offered by foreign competitors.
- Argonaut Ventures owns about 39 percent of the parent company of Solyndra, 360 Solar Degree Holdings and is “among the company’s first-lien lenders, meaning it will be the first to be repaid, ahead of the U.S. government.” Madrone Partners holds 13 percent of the equity, USVP Venture Partners holds about 9 percent, and Rockport Capital Partners owns about 7 percent.
- Solyndra has secured debts of $783.8 million.
- Argonaut and Madrone will give Solyndra $4 million in debtor-in-possession financing, at 15 percent interest, to help the company through the four-week buyer search. That has to be paid back first, as well as $69.3 million to the first lien lendors before the U.S. government is paid back.
- The U.S. Federal Financing Bank, owned by the U.S. Treasury Department, is the company’s biggest lender.
- Via Bloomberg, in recent weeks the DOE negotiated with Solyndra investors for bridge financing to give the company time to find a new source of capital.
Bloomberg also reported on the details of the senior debt for Solyndra this weekend. Bloomberg cited a government document that said in January 2011, private investors gave Solyndra another $75 million to try to stop it from going bankrupt, and that $75 million became senior debt that ensured it would be paid back ahead of $385 million in U.S. federal loans.
Former Solyndra employees have also filed a class action lawsuit claiming Solyndra had to give employees 60-days notice before cutting more than 50 workers — Solyndra laid off 1,100 employees last week. An exception to that rule is that a company has to be looking for more funding up until the end and Solyndra says it was.