Theolia Pursuing Options to Avoid Bond Repayment Crunch

Theolia SA, the French operator of

1.2 gigawatts of wind farms, is negotiating financing options with bondholders to help it remain in business after a Jan. 1 payment comes due.

The company is “working on several scenarios,” including raising capital, issuing new debt with an extended maturity date, selling off assets and renegotiating the terms of its convertible bonds, Aix-En-Provence-based Theolia said in an e-mailed statement today.

Theolia is “discussing with its main bondholders to implement a solution to enable it to continue as a going concern after January 1, 2015,” according to the statement.

That’s the date when bondholders may demand repayment of as much as 125.8 million euros ($173.8 million), an amount Theolia Chief Executive Officer Fady Khallouf said he can’t pay.

“This is not an easy situation because the interest of bondholders is in contradiction to the interest of shareholders,” Khallouf said in a phone interview. “The company has to look after both.”

A deal for the company to be acquired by a Macquarie Group Ltd. fund for 1.70 euros a share fell through in September. Shareholders representing 64.79 percent of the voting rights supported the deal, falling short of the two-thirds needed.

Theolia reported a net loss of 41.2 million euros last year, up from a loss of 34.2 million euros in 2012, as sales increased 41 percent to 95.4 million euros.

The company completed financing this month for its 21-megawatt Haute Borne project in the Somme department of France. The debt came from two French banks, and construction began this year. Terms, including the size of the financing, weren’t disclosed.

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