Evergreen Solar seeks sale of Massachusetts solar panel plant

Evergreen Solar on March 12 asked its bankruptcy court for approval to sell certain assets at its Devens solar panel manufacturing plant site in Massachusetts to a party approved by Hackman Capital Acquisition Co. LLC.

Evergreen Solar also asked for approval of a settlement agreement with the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment) governing the resolution of claims and distribution of proceeds from the Hackman asset sale.

The company asked for a deadline of March 20 for any party to object to the sale and a March 23 court hearing date on the sale motion.

The court has approved numerous asset sales thus far, with the Devens assets being the principal remaining assets left, said Evergreen Solar. After over a year of marketing these assets, which includes land, a building and certain facilities equipment located at the debtor’s closed manufacturing facility in Devens, and after months of negotiation with a third party buyer and with MassDevelopment, a quasi-government agency and the owner of the land on which the Devens plant sits, Evergreen Solar has reached agreement with Hackman to sell these assets to Hackman’s nominee, 112 Barnum Road LLC.

In August 2011, Evergreen Solar commenced this case by filing a voluntary petition for relief under chapter 11 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. From its commencement, this chapter 11 case was a structured liquidation. Evergreen Solar committed to pursue a sale of substantially all of its assets. The court approved the bidding procedures for the sale of all of the debtor’s assets through the entry of an order in September 2011.

Evergreen Solar held auctions for its assets on Nov. 7 and 18, 2011, and Dec. 13, 2011. On Nov. 7, the debtor conducted auctions for Lots 1 (LBIE Assets), 3 (Core Assets) and 4A (Panel Inventory). On Nov. 18, it conducted an auction for Lot 4B (Miscellaneous Non-Core Assets). On Dec. 13, the debtor conducted an auction for certain Lot 2 assets (specifically the Devens Tangible Assets). The court entered orders approving each of these sales.

The assets to be sold now include the Devens land; the Devens plant; certain designated contracts; and certain Devens tangible assets. Under the MassDevelopment settlement, fee title to the Devens land will be delivered directly from MassDevelopment to the purchaser at the closing of the transactions. These assets are called the “Hackman Acquired Assets.”

“As demonstrated from the beginning of the case, the debtor believes that the best way to maximize value for its stakeholders is through a sale of substantially all of the debtor’s assets, including the Hackman Acquired Assets,” Evergreen Solar told the court. “Rapidly falling prices for solar panels made it virtually impossible for the debtor to manufacture and sell its products on a profitable basis. This forced the debtor to close its U.S. solar panel manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts, in early 2011. Given these developments, the debtor was unable to sustain its current capital structure and was also unable to attract additional financing to refinance its funded debt. In light of this, the debtor embarked on the sale process to preserve its value for the benefit of its creditors.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.