Economy
4:08 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Michigan-based solar technology company files for bankruptcy

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., a technology company based in Auburn Hills, Michigan filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.

The company makes thin laminates that convert sunlight to energy and "has manufacturing facilities in Auburn Hills and Greenville, Michigan, as well as sites in Mexico and Canada," according to the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Schostak, the director of business development at Energy Conversion Devices, was quoted in the WSJ saying the company intends to find a buyer in the reorganization process.

From the WSJ:

It intends to remain open during its Chapter 11 case and emerge as a going concern with a new owner following a sale.

"We've been around 51 years and are one of the most experienced solar companies in the world, and we fully expect to emerge as a going concern through a [bankruptcy] 363 sale," Mr. Schostak said. "We think there is real value there."

The Chapter 11 filing comes a day after the company sold its battery division to BASF for $58 million. That unit's pioneering nickel-metal-hydride battery technology is used in a number of hybrid automobiles, including the Honda Fit, the Toyota Prius and the Ford Fusion.

The Detroit News reports the the bankruptcy was not unexpected by analysts who were "concerned the Auburn Hills-based solar products manufacturer would not be able to make a June 2013 payment, totaling more than $263 million, which will be due on notes."

The company has no ties to the federal government, according to the Wall Street Journal, so this bankruptcy will not be a black eye for the U.S. Energy Department and the Obama Administration.

The WSJ reports the company had applied for an Energy Department loan, but was not awarded one.