Bloomberg News

Solar Trust of America Wins Court Approval to Auction Assets

May 11, 2012

Solar Trust of America LLC, which is developing what would be the world’s largest solar power plant, won court approval to sell virtually all its assets at a June 21 auction.

“I find the bid procedures to be fair and reasonable,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross said at a hearing today in Wilmington, Delaware, as he approved the guidelines that will govern the proposed sale.

“A sale of the debtor’s assets must occur quickly to maximize the value,” Justin Rucki, a lawyer for the company told Gross.

Solar Trust has yet to select a so-called stalking-horse or lead bidder to set a minimum for other bidders to top. Offers for the assets must be submitted by June 18. The company will seek court approval to sell the assets to the auction winner at a hearing scheduled for June 27.

The Oakland, California-based company is a joint venture between Solar Millennium AG (S2M), which is undergoing its own insolvency proceedings in Germany, and Ferrostaal AG, according to court documents. The company’s prize asset is a solar project, commonly referred to as the Blythe Project, located in Riverside County, California, that upon completion would be capable of generating 1,000-megawatts.

Blythe, Palen Projects

The Blythe Project would be comprised of four independent 250-megawatt power plants, which would be able to deliver enough electricity to power more than 300,000 homes, court papers show.

The company is also developing two other solar power facilities each with a 500-megawatt generating capacity, according to court filings. The so-called Palen Project is located near Desert Center, California, and the second will be built in Amargosa Valley, Nevada.

Solar Trust was dependent on funding from its parent, Solar Millennium, because none of the projects produced any revenue and once Solar Millennium began insolvency proceedings and cut off financing, the company was forced to seek bankruptcy protection, Chief Operating Officer Edward Kleinschmidt said in court papers.

The company listed as much as $10 million in assets and as much as $100 million in debt in its April 2 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Affiliate Solar Millennium Inc. listed as much as $100 million in assets and as much as $500 million in debt.

The case is In re Solar Trust of America LLC, 12-11136, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Bathon in Wilmington, Delaware, at mbathon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net


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