Suntech Revenue Drops as Debt Restructuring Talks Advance

Suntech Power Holdings Co., the Chinese solar company with its main unit in bankruptcy proceedings, said the subsidiary will meet with creditors earlier than anticipated as it reported a 48 percent drop in revenue last year.

Wuxi Suntech will meet its creditors in Wuxi on May 22 as a court in the Chinese city considers how to restructure its debts, the company said today in a statement. Suntech said it was delaying its full-year results after reporting $1.63 billion in preliminary revenue.

“We are undertaking a number of restructuring initiatives to address Suntech’s balance sheet and improve the Company’s cost structure and operational efficiency,” Chief Executive Officer David King said in the statement. “In the meantime, we continue to manufacture and deliver” solar products, he said.

Suntech, once the top solar-panel manufacturer, may become the largest renewable-energy insolvency after its main manufacturing unit was pulled into bankruptcy by Chinese banks on March 20 following its default on a $541 million bond repayment. Today it reiterated that more than 60 percent of bond holders agreed to hold off on exercising their rights until May 15.

The company also expects to enter discussions with creditors of its main unit in Europe, which was granted a two-month provisional moratorium from creditor claims on April 9. It’s seeking a “definitive moratorium.”

Suntech American depositary receipts, each worth one ordinary share, slipped 4.4 percent to 66 cents at the close in New York.

The company hasn’t released full earnings since March 2012, four months before saying it may have been the victim of a fraud involving 560 million euros ($739 million) of German bonds. The company will delay full year results for 2012 as it works on restating its earnings for 2011 and 2010.

Preliminary revenue in the fourth quarter was $358 million, down 43 percent from a year earlier and gross margin was about 0.4 percent. It sold 1.8 gigawatts in solar products last year.