FREMONT, CALIF. (Sept. 9, 12:30 p.m. ET) — Some plastics firms may be affected by the bankruptcy of a high-profile solar-panel maker, but hold out hope that new investors will buy the assets and restart production.
Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif., listed four different plastics companies among its largest unsecured creditors in a Sept. 6 filing seeking Chapter 11 protection with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. Injection molder MGS Manufacturing Group Inc. came in at second place on that list — owed $7.5 million in trade debt.
John Berg, spokesman for Germantown, Wis.,-based MGS, said the loss will hurt but would not be devastating for the firm, which has a “deep and wide book of business” across multiple industries.
MGS injection molded several parts that hold Solyndra's cyndrical solar panels. Because orders came in at an irregular pace — whenever Solyndra received a large order for its panels — the loss affects temporary worker employment rather than MGS' permanent workforce, Berg said.
Other plastics firms listed among the unsecured creditors with trade debt were extruder Certified Thermoplastics Co. Inc. of Santa Clarita, Calif., which is owned $2.4 million; Amcor Ltd.'s Amcor Pharmaceutical Packaging USA Inc. of Millville, N.J., $1.8 million; and Plastikon Industries Inc. of Hayward, Calif., $1.19 million.
Solyndra created a proprietary thin-film technology for photovoltaic cells located on a cylindrical collector, rather than a more-standard flat panel. Since it formed in 2005, the company said it has sold 500,000 solar panels for more than 1,000 commercial and industrial buildings with cumulative sales of $250 million.
It had 968 full-time and 211 temporary employees when it shut down production Aug. 3.
The company had seen an increased profile because it received presidential visits and more than $500 million in government-backed loans as part of a federal focus on “green technology” jobs. The FBI and Department of Energy have launched their own investigation into the company to determine if any of the federal loans were used improperly.
In its court filing, Solyndra said it began having financial problems as its system faced increased competition from inexpensive panels made internationally. At the same time, European governments cut funding for solar panel installation by private industries.
It still seeks to sell its assets to a backer that will use its patents and technology to resume production, company officials said.
“We're hoping a number of things will happen, including that an angel will come along and invest back in [Solyndra],” Berg said.