Analysis: In bankruptcy, SunEdison parallels Peabody

Peabody Energy and SunEdison, two onetime energy titans based in the St. Louis area, are fundamentally different companies. But they wound up in the same place for some of the same reasons.

SunEdison, the Maryland Heights-based renewable energy developer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday, just eight days after Peabody, the St. Louis-based coal miner, did the same.

In the run up to bankruptcy, both companies used debt to finance aggressive growth. Both were pushed into bankruptcy when plummeting energy prices left them unable to meet their obligations. Now, both are left to climb out of debt-induced holes.

Some of the solar and wind energy threatening the coal industry is produced at plants built by SunEdison, which once said it was part of “the next generation of the world’s leading energy companies.”

However, it may be Peabody that stands the best chance of emerging from bankruptcy as a viable business.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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