Solyndra postpones sale until January, seeks better bids

Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:56am EST
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By Jeremy Pelofsky and Roberta Rampton

(Reuters) - Solyndra LLC, the failed solar panel maker at the center of a political firestorm in Washington, did not receive any acceptable bids by a Wednesday night deadline, and postponed an auction for its California manufacturing plant for two months.

The extra time will allow potential "turnkey" buyers to examine Solyndra's assets, the company's lawyers said in a notice filed in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

The postponement came hours before a Capitol Hill hearing where Republicans are expected to grill Energy Secretary Steven Chu over his role in decisions on a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra.

Chu has said the Energy Department restructured the debt when the company ran out of cash in a last-chance deal, one the department hoped would result in the best recovery of taxpayer money even if the company failed.

The lack of strong bids could bolster Republican arguments the department did not properly assess Solyndra's true value.

Other U.S. solar companies that have filed for bankruptcy this year as prices for panels plunged were unable to find a buyer for the entire business.

Solyndra has said it hopes to find a "turnkey" buyer who can step in, restart production and rehire some of the company's 1,000 idled workers.

The company had been set to auction its assets on Friday, a sale that will now happen on January 19 providing acceptable "turnkey" bids are received by January 17 -- a timetable it said it set after consulting with key creditors.   Continued...