Energy Conversion Devices (ENERQ) declared bankruptcy and laid off about 1,000 employees on February 14 this year, driven by more than $250 million in outstanding debt. The firm, a long-struggling supplier of flexible amorphous silicon (a-Si) photovoltaic laminates and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), is now traded on the Pink Sheets.
That delay is likely due to a long-shot acquisition hopeful, Salamon Group.
Another Pink Sheets entity, Salamon Group (SLMU), with a $14.4 million market cap, annual 2011 revenue of $3,126 and a net loss of $1.5 million, has put in an offer letter in exchange for 5 million shares of Salamon Group. Repeating: the firm's revenue was $3,126 in 2011. SLMU stock is trading at $0.36 per share as of close of market April 23, which translates to an offer of about $1.8 million in stock.
Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) had a long history of technological promise, but a long string of money-losing quarters. The company's low-efficiency amorphous silicon solar product, combined with high manufacturing costs amidst a highly competitive global market with rising efficiencies and plunging costs, put it into a tight spot. When ECD filed for Chapter 11, it had assets of $986 million and liabilities of $249 million.
According to a press release from Michael Matvieshen, CEO of Salamon, "We believe this type of transaction would have a positive impact on our business model," adding, "A bank of loss-carry forwards is a valuable asset, if they are acquired for the right price. Energy Conversion shareholders are currently set to receive nothing but a total loss because of the Chapter 11 filing. The current Energy Conversion shareholders, based on the Chapter 11 disposition of assets, receive nothing. Our offer allows shareholders of ENERQ to have an opportunity to recover value that they would not be able to with their current holdings because of the Chapter 11 filing."
In a display of, let's call it optimism, Matvieshen told Crain's Detroit Business that "The solar product they make is excellent," adding, "They've really improved that product, and it's got a nice niche. It'd be a shame if those facilities closed down. I'd love to buy them if we can put a deal together."
Salamon's Sunlogics Power Fund Management group focuses on building and buying renewable energy power projects. That division owns 30 percent of Sunlogics, a solar carport developer which has won investment from General Motors' venture capital arm.
In its annual report, Salamon Group revealed, "We have suffered recurring losses from operations, we have a working capital deficit and a deficit accumulated during the development stage. These items raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern."
ECD's hopes lie with the ability of Salamon to put together the deal despite its own shaky financials -- as well as Salamon not doing too much due diligence on ECD's technology, past performance, or the current state of the solar industry.