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Clean Power

SunEdison Shares Jump As Self-Audit Shows No Wrongdoing

A self-audit conducted by troubled renewable energy developer SunEdison found the company clear of any wrongdoing, other than issues with an optimistic in-house culture.

SunEdison has been in hot water for several months now, and is rumored to likely file for bankruptcy soon. Over the past year and a half, the company has gone from top of the world to shares tickling $0.20, lost out on numerous acquisitions and project deals. Late in 2015, SunEdison initiated its own investigation based on allegations made by former executives of the company concerning “the accuracy of the Company’s anticipated financial position.” Since then, the SEC and US Department of Justice have also begun investigating the company.

According to a filing with the SEC on Thursday, SunEdison’s own investigation found that “there were no identified material misstatements in the Company’s historical financial statements as well as no substantial evidence to support a finding of fraud or willful misconduct of management” except for a single exception (see below). However, the audit did identify “issues with the Company’s overly optimistic culture and its tone at the top.” Specific issues included:

  • the Company’s cash forecasting efforts lack sufficient controls and processes
  • certain assumptions underlying the cash forecasts provided to the Board by the Company’s management were overly optimistic and a more fulsome discussion of risks and adjustments with the Board was warranted
  • the Company’s management has not responded appropriately when forecasted targets were not met
  • the Company lacked sufficient controls and processes regarding the Company’s managing of cash flows, including extensions of accounts payable and the use of cash committed for projects, and related disclosures to the Board were not comprehensive or made on a timely basis

In addition, and maybe most important, was the discovery of “wrongdoing by a former non-executive employee of the Company in connection with negotiations over the termination of the Vivint Solar, Inc. acquisition. The Company terminated the employee promptly after the Company became aware of the wrongdoing.”

On the back of the company’s filing, SunEdison’s shares jumped 60% in trading on Friday, finishing the day just under $.60, having finished trading on Thursday at $0.37.

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