Bankrupt Solar-Panel Maker Suntech Seeks Protection in U.S.

Suntech Power Holdings Corp., the Chinese solar-panel maker that defaulted on $541 million of bonds, filed for bankruptcy court protection from U.S. creditors as it liquidates in the Cayman Islands, Bloomberg News reported. The company filed its Chapter 15 petition late Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan as part of a restructuring agreement with petitioners seeking an involuntary filing last year. In November, Suntech told the court that the proposed action by U.S. creditors could derail restructuring efforts. “The Chapter 15 petition is a very important step to conclude a successful restructuring of the company as it would allow a centralized process to assert and resolve claims,” said David Walker, a joint provisional liquidator, in a statement. “Chapter 15 recognition will stay actions brought by creditors in the U.S., and help ensure that all creditors are treated equally.” Wuxi, China-based Suntech, the world’s biggest solar-panel maker in 2011, is incorporated in the Cayman Islands and has no operations or significant assets in New York, according to the company. It had $541 million of senior notes outstanding and a $50 million convertible loan, according to court papers. The company’s main unit was pulled into bankruptcy proceedings by Chinese banks after it missed a bond payment in March. Read more.