March 13, 2013
Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Suntech Power (NYSE: STP ) fell 23% today on concerns the company will go bankrupt.
So what: Suntech has a $541 million bond payment due on Friday, and even though 60% of bondholders have agreed to a delay in payment, it appears 40% may force the company into bankruptcy. Bloomberg is reporting that China's central government won't bail out the company and sees it as a healthy sign for solar if Suntech goes bankrupt.
During the day today, there were rumors that the local government would somehow rescue the company, but that is pure speculation at this point. No matter what, equity holders are in trouble.
Now what: I've been negative on solar stocks for a long time now, and this is exactly why. Suntech had too much debt and was losing too much money to survive. It's unclear if Suntech will be in bankruptcy court voluntarily or involuntarily, or whether it'll just be sued by bondholders, but this will come to a head on Friday. No reason to buy Suntech now, and I'd stay away from all Chinese solar stocks, because this won't be the last one to meet this fate.
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