GlassPoint Solar Inc: In Liquidation

As the BDC Credit Reporter works its way through the hundreds of underperforming companies showing up in the IIQ 2020 BDC portfolios we’ve identified – a little late in the day – a liquidation. According to a trade journal GlassPoint Solar Inc. was liquidated by its owners in May 2020.

The Omani government—GlassPoint’s largest investor—issued a statement on Sunday (17 May) confirming that it liquidated its 31% stake in the company. The move effectively shuttered the Silicon Valley company that has received an estimated $130 million in funding since it was founded in 2008. The liquidation decision of GlassPoint Solar comes after the steep fall in oil and gas prices caused by the global economic slowdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its negative impact on business across the globe, especially on hydrocarbon producers, travel, and hospitality businesses,” read a statement issued by the Omani Ministry of Finance which oversees the state’s strategic investment portfolio. The statement added that some of the current investors have expressed interest in purchasing GlassPoint’s intellectual property. Other major shareholders included the national oil company Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and Shell which has been a minority investor since 2012″.

The only BDC involved is BlackRock TCP Capital (TCPC), which is both lender and investor in Glasspoint, dating back to IQ 2027, with $7.4mn in aggregate advanced, mostly in first lien debt. As of the IIQ 2020, the debt was placed on non-accrual. The debt was discounted by more than half and the equity written to zero. Still, the BDC’s managers remain hopeful – as expressed on their conference call – that even in liquidation some value can be found because of the interesting technology the company owns. This is what was said on the call:

GlassPoint had been in the late stages of obtaining equity financing but the process was pulled as a result of COVID. Our team is working with the equity owner to find an alternative solution which may include a monetization of the business, assets in IP”.

That leaves hope for $3.2mn of the investment – as of June 2020 . The BDC Credit Reporter is a little more skeptical as we know – also from press reports – that the company had been having troubles long before Covid-19 came along and had been on the underperformers list since IIQ 2018. We expect most – if not all – the $7.4mn invested is likely to be written off. In the short term, TCPC will be missing out on about ($0.600mn) of investment income. We are maintaining our CCR 5 rating on Glasspoint until a final resolution is announced, and – belatedly – adding the company to our Bankruptcy list, found in the Data Room.

Even without knowing the final outcome, the BDC Credit Reporter points out that this was more of a project finance deal than a typical leveraged loan and in the energy services field to boot, added to the BDC’s books after the oil price drop of 2014-2016. Admittedly, the technology involved is intriguing: “The company was going to use concentrated solar arrays housed in glass greenhouses to produce steam at gigawatt scale instead of using natural gas“. That sounds very “green energy”, but also outside the normal ambit of what BDCs consider normal risk. The good news from TCPC’s perspective: even at worst the amount of capital involved was modest. We expect some final resolution in the months ahead, including a realized loss and – possibly – a further write down.