Clean energy giant SunEdison Inc. is on the verge of bankruptcy amid growing concerns over the company’s accounting practices and its ability to cover large debt obligations.
“There is a substantial risk that SunEdison will soon seek bankruptcy protection,” the firm’s subsidiary TerraForm Global Inc. said Tuesday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The subsidiary cited SunEdison’s “liquidity difficulties” and said a SunEdison bankruptcy would have a “material adverse effect” on TerraForm Global.
The world’s biggest developer of solar and wind projects, SunEdison has seen its share price plunge 96 percent since July as questions have swirled about company’s financial position. The firm has twice postponed the release of its annual filing for its 2015 financial performance, a delay that investors and lenders say leaves them blind to SunEdison’s true ability to generate cash flow and pay down debt.
If the company fails to file its SEC Form 10-K report by a Wednesday deadline, it must reach an arrangement with lenders on at least $1.4 billion in loans and credit facilities — or face a potential technical default.
SunEdison’s (NYSE:SUNE) share price was down almost 50 percent, to 63 cents, Tuesday by 11:09 a.m. EDT. The share prices of the company’s two publicly traded offshoots were also depressed early in the trading day. Equity in TerraForm Global (NASDAQ:GLBL) dropped 22 percent, to $1.95 a share, while stock in TerraForm Power Inc. (NASDAQ:TERP) was down 8.15 percent, to $7.78 a share. Meanwhile, the broader large-capitalization market, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX), was trading down slightly.
SunEdison first delayed filing its 2015 financial report in late February while it conducted an internal investigation into its finances. Former executives have alleged the company misrepresented its liquidity position. The firm in early March again postponed the filing, citing “material weaknesses” related to a faulty information technology system.
Now the SEC is reportedly investigating SunEdison’s disclosures to investors about how much cash the company had on hand as its stock price collapsed last year. Officials in the agency’s enforcement unit are looking into whether the firm overstated its liquidity last fall when it told investors it had more than $1 billion in cash, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
SunEdison’s market cap has fallen to around $400 million from nearly $10 billion in July. A SunEdison representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.