* Solyndra cleared to run quick sales process
* Company still has no initial bidder
* Ordered to attend solar conference to drum up interest
By Tom Hals
WILMINGTON, Del., Sept 27 Solar panel maker
Solyndra LLC, which filed for bankruptcy after borrowing $535
million from the U.S. government, on Tuesday was cleared to
begin a quick sale process that some creditors criticized as
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath in Delaware approved the
plan for an Oct. 27 auction of the business, citing the support
for the plan by the Department of Energy (DOE). She also
directed the company to attend a major trade show next month to
find a buyer for the business.
The DOE guaranteed the government's loan to Solyndra, which
touched off a political storm after the start-up filed for
bankruptcy just weeks after assuring members of Congress about
its rosy outlook. [ID:nS1E78M1Z5]
Just days after the company's Sept. 6 bankruptcy filing,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Solyndra's
headquarters in Fremont, California.
Congress is investigating the role political connections
played in securing the loan guarantee for Solyndra, which was
visited by U.S. President Barack Obama last year. The Obama
administration had thrown support behind solar and other clean
energy technologies as a way of stimulating the economy.
The official committee of unsecured creditors, which
represents suppliers and employees, argued that Solyndra's sale
process would discourage some bidders and should be slowed
"We are concerned there is a rushed sale here," said Bonnie
Fatell, a Blank Rome LLP attorney who is representing the
creditors' committee. "This is a new technology and a complex
company with complex relations with vendors. To expect anyone
to really have an opportunity to complete due diligence on a
company that was not marketed previously is stretching the
Under questioning from Fatell, Solyndra's financial adviser
admitted that generally more time is better in conducting an
auction. The company has not identified an initial bidder,
which is the preferred way to stoke active participation.
The financial adviser, Eric Carlson from Imperial Capital,
seemed unaware of an international solar conference next month
in Dallas, even though 26,000 people from the solar industry
would be attending.
In approving the sale process, Walrath ordered the company
to send a representative to the Dallas trade show as a way to
drum up interest in the company's assets.
The case is Solyndra LLC, Case No. 11-12799, U.S. Bankruptcy
Court, District of Delaware.
(Reporting by Tom Hals)