Bonds of Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP:US) plummeted to the lowest price since January as analysts raise questions about the Chinese solar manufacturer’s ability to refinance its debt.
Suntech’s $541 million of convertible notes due March 2013 dropped to 45 cents on the dollar yesterday, down from 70.8 cents on July 24, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. That’s the lowest since Jan. 3.
Suntech, which has said it needs additional funding to continue operating, may have been defrauded by an affiliate, the firm said July 30. After the Wuxi, China-based company guaranteed a 554.2 million-euro loan in 2010 to a Global Solar Fund S.C.A. backer, it discovered financial irregularities at GSF, which is managed by a former sales representative, Javier Romero.
“We think the company will never be able to repay its debt, and we have consistently called the company a poor steward of investor capital,” Jesse Pichel, an analyst with Jefferies Group Inc. in New York, said in an e-mail.
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