Business

Hoku Corp. files bankruptcy

POCATELLO, Idaho – Hoku Corp., the parent company of a polysilicon manufacturing plant in eastern Idaho, has filed for bankruptcy in Pocatello federal court, reporting debt at nearly $1 billion.

Hoku, which owns Hoku Materials, made the Chapter 7 filing Tuesday, the Idaho State Journal reported.

Hoku Materials started building the $700 million plant five years ago as interest in solar energy grew and polysilicon prices rose. The company said it would bring hundreds of higher paying jobs to Pocatello.

But then polysilicon prices began to plummet. The company’s financial woes came to light about a year ago, when it announced $14.4 million in cash and assets, and $278.8 million in liabilities, and it laid off 100 employees

Honolulu-based Hoku announced it was delisting its stock from Nasdaq last year.

A meeting of the company’s creditors has been scheduled for July 31. More than 30 entities are listed as creditors, including the plant’s main construction contractor.

The city of Pocatello owns the plant’s property and leased it to Hoku Materials for 99 years at a cost of $1 per year.

“I believe the city is adequately protected,” city deputy attorney Kirk Bybee said about the bankruptcy.

Minor issues with LOT’s 787s

WARSAW, Poland – Polish airline LOT has cancelled one trans-Atlantic flight and postponed another after technical problems on two of its Boeing 787 planes, the carrier’s spokeswoman said Thursday.

Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras confirmed that a flight to Chicago was cancelled on Wednesday because of problems with the power system, while another to Toronto was postponed due to issues associated with the plane’s tracking system.

She said the problems were minor and not linked to the battery problems behind the global grounding of the 787 fleet earlier this year.

The Toronto flight took off Thursday morning after the problem was fixed, while the other plane was still undergoing checks on Thursday and passengers were put on other flights, she said.

LOT has four 787s and was the first European airline to buy the plane, dubbed The Dreamliner by Boeing.

All four are making dozens of long-haul flights each week to New York, Chicago, Toronto and Beijing, Pijanowska-Kuras said.

Bank cancels stimulus plan

LONDON – The Bank of England has opted to refrain from pumping more money into the U.K. economy in its first meeting since new Governor Mark Carney’s arrival.

The Monetary Policy Committee kept interest rates at 0.5 percent Thursday and decided against expanding its stimulus program. The bank has so far pumped 375 billion pounds ($579 billion) into Britain’s economy since 2009. Under the program, the Bank of England buys bonds from financial institutions with newly created money. The hope is the extra money will boost lending, helping economic growth.

Analysts like Erik Nielsen, the UniCredit global chief economist, have warned that even if Carney wanted to hit the “monetary accelerator,” he would still need to persuade fellow MPC members. Ex-Governor Mervyn King had pushed for more stimulus, but had been outvoted.



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