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TerraForm Global's Biggest Win in 2016 So Far

By Travis Hoium – Sep 2, 2016 at 10:05AM

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There are still challenges ahead for TerraForm Global, but there's been one big win for the company this year.

Image source: Getty Images.

It's been a wild year, to say the least, for yieldco TerraForm Global Inc. (NASDAQ: GLBL). The company has seen its parent, SunEdison, go bankrupt, and due to the ties between the two companies, we haven't seen full financial statements since the third quarter of 2015. Bondholders are warning TerraForm Global of technical default, and no one quite knows where the company will be a year from now.

But that doesn't mean there hasn't been some good news for the yieldco. Here's the biggest positive investors can point to this year.

TerraForm Global may finally lose the SunEdison anchor

The best thing for TerraForm Global today would be to cut its ties to SunEdison. The bankrupt company is in the process of being sold off in pieces, but its stake in TerraForm Global and the back-office ties -- which have led to financial reporting delays -- are still in limbo. That led to bondholders' technical default notice and general uncertainty for both debt and equity investors.  

That's why it's a huge win that SunEdison said it was in joint discussions with TerraForm Global to sell its controlling stake in the company. If SunEdison's stake in TerraForm Global is sold, it could reset the company's operations to be in a more sustainable place. It would also allow the yieldco to break free operationally, meaning updated financial statements.

SunEdison had become an anchor for the yieldco for a number of reasons beyond just financial statements. It was using the yieldco like a piggy bank, dumping assets, some that weren't even completed, for high values. After bankruptcy, SunEdison had little incentive to complete projects or make sure debt covenants were met.

The beginning of a long journey

If SunEdison's shares in TerraForm Global are sold, it won't be the end of uncertainty for the company. Project-level debt will likely need to be renegotiated or refinanced, particularly in India, where the company has said a change of ownership could lead to default. Contracts to sell energy may also need to be renegotiated if the controlling owner changes.

We also don't know where TerraForm Global's cash flow, debt, and dividends will end up. Management released limited financial information for Q1 2016 and said it had $42 million to $48 million in cash available for distribution. But that's without a full picture of the debt load, so it's just a ballpark of the cash coming into the company.

High potential with high risk

The biggest win for TerraForm Global so far in 2016 has been the hint that it will break free from SunEdison. But the ultimate win will be when SunEdison's shares in the company are sold and investors get stability in operations and, hopefully, a dividend they can count on.

At the end of the third quarter, there were 178.1 million shares outstanding, and if that holds and there is indeed $42 million to $48 million in cash available for distributions from the first quarter, there's potential for a dividend approaching $1 per share annually. That could give tremendous upside to shares and investors looking for a great dividend. But it's still a risky stock and investors will want to be wary of betting too big on a recovery.  

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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