Energy Business

How Analysts Changed the Tune on SunEdison

Battered solar PV maker SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) had an interesting week. Shares finished the week down about 20%, but at Tuesday’s opening bell the stock had dropped 37%. The collapse was the result of an SunEdison’s announcement late Monday that it would delay filing its financial statements.

Then the better news began to trickle in. On Wednesday The Wall Street Journal reported that SunEdison’s $2 billion acquisition of Vivint Solar Inc. (NYSE: VSLR) was in jeopardy as banks that had signed up to provide financing were getting cold feet. Shares drifted lower on Thursday, and then Friday shares bounced 20% on news that SunEdison had settled a lawsuit over another, uncompleted $700 million acquisition for $28.5 million.

The company said it plans to file its Form 10-K with the SEC by March 15 and that should give more visibility into the company’s liquidity position. Some key analysts already have weighed in:

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a Neutral rating on the stock and a price target of $2.50.
  • Macquarie downgraded the shares from Outperform to Hold.
  • Needham downgraded the stock from Buy to Hold.
  • Oppenheimer downgraded it from Outperform to Perform.

S&P Capital IQ maintained its Hold rating following the announcement of the late 10-K filing and probably summed up a lot of analysts’ and investors’ feelings about the banks’ uneasiness with lending SunEdison the cash to acquire Vivint:

While we would view a deal cancellation as a positive, it could result in more legal issues. In addition, SUNE has suspended preferred dividend payments, which we believe further illustrates SUNE’s highly constrained financial position. If SUNE cannot sell its existing assets, we see a greater probability for a liquidity crisis. We believe access to the debt and equity markets is elusive, given mounting issues.

Our own take is that SunEdison’s CEO needs to be replaced.

SunEdison’s stock closed the week at $1.78, up more than 17% on the day, in a 52-week range of $1.21 to $33.45. The consensus price target on the stock is $9.16, with a high target of $42.00 and a low target of $0.39.

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