Lender America 2030 says it has retained collateral in loan deal with Sunpower executives

A Singapore 10-dollar note Photo by Leslie Shaffer

Lender America 2030 Capital said in a press release dated Saturday that it has retained control of the collateral in the share-loan deal with Singapore-listed Sunpower’s chairman and executive director.

Late on Thursday, Sunpower had issued a statement that two substantial shareholders — Guo Hongxin, executive chairman of Sunpower, and Ma Ming, executive director — had placed 14 million Sunpower shares each, or around 1.89 percent of the company’s total issued shares, as collateral to a depository broker designated by the lender, America 2030 Capital. Guo and Ma’s loans, which were not disbursed, were for their personal use, Sunpower said.

Sunpower said the two shareholders told the company on 3 November the shares were no longer in the depository broker account and that it was “given to understand” that Guo and Ma have engaged legal advisors and have begun legal proceedings in the Supreme Court of Singapore to seek the return of the collateral shares as they “have been transferred or otherwise dealt in, between 25 October 2018 to 5 November.”

But America 2030 Capital said in the Saturday press release that it retained control of the collateral, in accordance with the executed contracts.

The lender said that the contracts were executed in early June, then three months later, it allowed the borrowers to renegotiate the terms, but that even with the new terms, the borrowers continued to attempt to renegotiate.

“Between the time that the contracts were executed in early June and shortly after the deposit by borrowers of the pledged collateral at end of October, the price of the stock declined by more than 50 percent,” America 2030 said in the statement.

“According to the loan agreement, borrowers were required to deposit additional collateral to stay within the terms of the loan, but failed to do so, instead again, borrowers continued to demand a $6 million loan against collateral worth less than $6 million and to further renegotiate terms,” America 2030 Capital said.

The lender said that it then attempted to terminate the contract, alleging borrowers had failed to comply with the terms and had ignored notifications of imminent default.

“We do not appreciate when our clients do not follow the contracts. We would be pleased to resolve the matter amicably in accordance with the contract, but our calls to do so were ignored,” Val Sklarov, CEO of America 2030 Capital, said in the statement.

The lender said it would urgently seek arbitration, in compliance with the terms of the contracts.

Shenton Wire emailed a request for comment from Sunpower and from Guo and Ma via Sunpower on Thursday and again on Sunday; the parties didn’t immediately respond.

Sunpower said on Thursday it had requested a trading halt of its shares Monday, 5 November, once it was told of the matter. On 1 November, in response to an SGX query regarding the shares’ drop in price to as low as S$0.28, off levels as high as S$0.58 at the beginning of October, Sunpower had said it wasn’t aware of any development that could cause the recent volatility.