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Hoku Cuts Jobs, Hires Imperial Capital to Restructure Debts

May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Hoku Corp. hired Imperial Capital LLC to restructure its debts as the supplier of solar products cut jobs at an Idaho plant and closed a U.S. unit that sells solar panels.

Imperial will help restructure about $278.8 million in current liabilities, including $74.4 million of accounts payable at Hoku Materials, a unit that manufactures polysilicon, the company said today in a statement.

Hoku, based in Honolulu, Hawaii, fired about 100 employees at the unit’s polysilicon plant in Pocatello, Idaho, where construction was halted in April. Unpaid construction payments have led some lienholders to begin foreclosure proceedings, according to the statement. The company also eliminated all staff at its Tianwei Solar USA Inc. unit, which sold solar panels made by Hoku’s parent company Tianwei New Energy Holdings Co. Ltd.

China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd. has provided a loan to Hoku to fund working capital while it restructures, though it is “insufficient to pay down current liabilities, resume construction, or start commercial operations,” Scott Paul, Hoku’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Hoku’s other unit that installs solar energy systems, Hoku Solar, is a “standalone business” and will not be affected by the restructuring, Paul said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Herndon in San Francisco at aherndon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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