Ascent Solar sells bonds worth $32m

Ascent Solar Technologies, the Colorado-based maker of flexible thin-film PV cells, has secured an agreement to raise $32m via senior convertible bonds, giving it significant breathing room as it aims to enter a rapid expansion phase.

The transaction size – with unnamed “institutional” investors – is significant for Nasdaq-listed Ascent, whose market valuation currently stands at just $41m. The deal is expected to close this week.

With an annual interest rate of 8%, the senior secured notes can be converted into Ascent shares at a price of $0.52 per share – a 13% mark-up on the company’s present value of $0.40 per share.

Ascent will receive $7m as soon as the transaction closes, with the remaining $25m to be release in installments over the next 18 months.

“This is the largest financing commitment, by far, that we have received from investors in several years, and will provide sufficient capital to finance our expected rapid expansion,” says chief executive Victor Lee.

Investors in the notes will also have the option to purchase an additional 26.7 million shares in Ascent at any time during the next five years for $0.52 per share – worth a potential $14m.

Initially focused on making thin-film PV modules using copper, indium, gallium, selenide (CIGS) technology, Ascent two years ago pivoted away from modules and towards the integration of small PV cells into everyday consumer electronics products. The company also believes its products will quickly gain traction in the buildings, defense and transportation sectors.

In the next phase of its development, Ascent intends to establish a significant manufacturing presence in China, having earlier this year announced a key milestone in its joint venture with the city of Suqian, in China’s Jiangsu province.