Investors in SunEdison Inc (OTCMKTS:SUNEQ) have been waiting for Tuesday, June 7th. The reason this date is so significant is that the bankruptcy court set June 7th as the date to hold the official hearing to decide whether an equity committee shall be granted. Along with setting the date of the hearing, the court also asked for any and all arguments be submitted as to why an equity committee should or should not be allowed.
The equity committee is extremely important to common shareholders. This gives them a seat at the table and allows common shareholders to negotiate with creditors and debt holders. The equity committee also can have its expenses covered through the bankruptcy court process. For those that doubt if an equity committee will be formed, one was just granted in the bankruptcy of Horsehead Holding Corp (OTCMKTS:ZINCQ) where believe there is still hope for common stockholders.
Leading the charge for SunEdison common shareholders is the Investor Recovery Charitable Trust. The Trust represents 268 individual shareholders that together own over 13 million shares which makes them a little over 4% owner. This allows for one voice to make a coherent argument to the Judge in support of the equity committee.
Among SunEdison’s biggest creditors are TerraForm Power Inc. and TerraForm Global Inc. These yieldcos are public, non-bankrupt companies that SunEdison created to buy the wind and solar projects it develops. They said in court papers that a DIP loan would leave the company unable to meet the expenses of its own liquidation, a worst-case scenario in bankruptcy known as administrative insolvency.
Together, the TerraForms are among the company’s biggest creditors. In early April, TerraForm Global filed a lawsuit accusing SunEdison of misusing $231 million of the yieldco’s cash “to prop up its flagging liquidity position.” That suit and other litigation were automatically halted by SunEdison’s April 21 bankruptcy filing.
The official committee of creditors has said that the DIP package amounts to a $1.34 billion hit to their recoveries while providing SunEdison less than $300 million in new money because the package includes fees and a “roll-up” of the old debt of some pre-bankruptcy lenders. Debtor-in-possession loans, whether they involve roll-ups or not, are the first to be repaid — giving their providers a distinct advantage.
SunEdison will also find out on June 7th whether it can continue managing its own cash, after the creditor committee and holders of $1 billion in unsecured notes objected to what is usually a routine request. In court papers, the committee said SunEdison has a “large, opaque capital structure” and other features “that have led many commentators to draw parallels with the Enron Corp. Chapter 11 cases.” We found the reference to Enron to be totally without merit, but this is how lawyers play the game. They’re all angling for their own interests.
In the bankruptcy filing, SunEdison listed $16.1 billion of debt. A $3.1 billion buying spree in 2014 and 2015 eventually went sour with the failure of a proposed acquisition of Vivint Solar Inc. The company also faces dozens of lawsuits by shareholders and an SEC investigation.
As we said before, the reality is that the battle over SunEdison is going to be long and expensive. In the meantime, we don’t think existing shareholders should sell at these levels. Many have been in this long, so why get out now? It has a big enough following that the slightest bit of good news will send shares higher on dip buying and short covering. We will be updating Insider Financial as soon as we know more. For continuing coverage on SUNEQ, sign up for our free newsletter today and get our next hot stock pick.
Disclosure: We have no position in SUNEQ and have not been compensated for this article.