LONDON – Konarka Technologies Inc. (Lowell, Mass.), a developer of thin-film solar panels, has filed for bankruptcy under chapter 7 of the United States federal bankruptcy laws.
This means that the company's operations have ceased and creditors must apply to a court appointed trustee for payment. The trustee is tasked with liquidating the company's assets for the benefit of creditors.
"Konarka has been unable to obtain additional financing, and given its current financial condition, it is unable to continue operations. This is a tragedy for Konarka's shareholders and employees and for the development of alternative energy in the United States," said Howard Berke, chairman, president and CEO of Konarka, in a statement.
Konarka was founded in 2001 by the late Sukant Tripathy, a materials scientist and professor at UMASS Lowell, Alan Heeger, a 2000 Nobel laureate in chemistry and Howard Berke, who served as executive chairman.
The company raised over $170 million in private capital and $20 million in government research grants in an attempt to exploit the research teams discovery of methods to process photovoltaic materials at relatively low temperatures.
Among the assets built up over the decade are hundreds of owned and licensed patents and patent applications in the field of solar energy and a manufacturing plant in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Interest has been shown in Konarka by several multinational companies and the Chinese government and so there is a possibility of rescue financing or an acquisition, Konarka said in a statement. However, under chapter 7 those possibilities would be evaluated by the trustee not the company itself.
Konarka has German subsidiary based in Nuremberg that has filed for bankruptcy with the Nuremberg District Court's bankruptcy court. Alexander Kubusch of national German insolvency administration firm Curator AG has been appointed as the preliminary insolvency administrator.
"We can sustain the R&D work in Germany without any difficulties at the moment. Nonetheless, our objective must be to find a suitable investor as quickly as possible who's prepared to get the company's first-class development work back on track again and to guarantee its production operations and future developments in the long term, because a successful transfer of the US parent group is currently still very much up in the air," said Kubusch, in a statement.
"If, however, we are able to find an investor and also keep the existing, as well as government research contracts in the company, I have every confidence that the company will be able to keep going long term at its Nuremberg site," he added.
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