Abengoa Unit Seeks Protection From Creditors in U.S. Court

  • Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding files Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • Company says it owes as much as $10 billion to creditors

Abengoa Bioenergy, a unit of the Spanish alternative-energy giant Abengoa SA, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., one week after its parent said it needed $1.85 billion to keep operating.

Seville-based Abengoa is fighting to avoid its own full-blown bankruptcy after asking a court in its home country in November for preliminary protection from creditors. Court papers filed on Wednesday in St. Louis involved only U.S. affiliates of Abengoa. The filing lists the lead debtor as Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding LLC.

The U.S. affiliates each listed as much as $10 billion in assets and debt without indicating exact amounts. Abengoa Bioenergy said it owed about $4 billion to unsecured bondholders and about $1.7 billion to various other lenders under different credit facilities.

The bond debt is actually owed by the Spanish parent but the American unit guaranteed repayment and so listed the debt on its own bankruptcy petition, Richard Engel, an attorney for the affiliate said in an interview. He declined to answer further questions about the bankruptcy case.

Company spokesman Chris Standlee didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the filing.

The Spanish company said in November that it’s trying to remain in business and reorganize by reducing its geographical reach and shedding assets. The goal is to become a smaller company that can generate about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in cash from 2017 to 2020, Abengoa said.

The case is In re: Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding, LLC, 16-41161, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis).

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