Enphase sells 9.5M shares for $20M, has cash reserves of only $29M

Petaluma-based Enphase Energy's IQ 6-plus solar panel microinverter


Enphase Energy of Petaluma on Super Bowl Sunday entered into a private-placement agreement with an accredited investor to sell 9.5 million shares of the company’s stock at $2.10 a share, about $20 million. The company plans to use the money for general expenses, according to the company's statement filed Monday.

Enphase will register the shares for sale on or before April 2. According to the company's press release, the shares are being sold to an entity affiliated with Isidoro Quiroga, a Chilean entrepreneur and investor. As part of the new investment, Mr. Quiroga or his designee will be entitled to a board observer position.

An individual accredited investor must have a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding primary residence, or income of at least $200,000 for each of the past two years, or $300,000 combined income if married, and expect to continue earning at that level. An accredited investor can also be a company.

On Monday, Enphase filed a report about the private placement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Shares of the company opened at $2 and rose more than 12 percent in the day’s trading to levels about $2.30 a share. The company’s stock had been on a steady decline since it peaked at $3.14 on Nov. 28 after a run-up from $1.50 at the end of October. The company stock topped out at $16.85 in September 2014.

In its filing on Feb. 5, Enphase reported cash holdings of about $29 million. The market cap is just under $200 million. The private placement represents about 10 percent of that. The company lost $35.4 million in the first six months of 2017 and has accumulated deficit of nearly $300 million.

Enphase Energy’s longtime CEO Paul Nahi resigned in August. He was replaced in September by Badri Kothandaraman, who had been brought in as COO in April 2017.

In January 2017, Enphase cut its workforce by about 18 percent, roughly 75 jobs. “These actions are necessary to create a near-term path to sustained profitability,” Nahi said then.

Also in January 2017, Enphase Energy received an investment boost of $10 million from John Doerr, chairman of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and T.J. Rodgers, founder and former CEO of Cypress Semiconductor. Rodgers was added to Enphase’s board of directors. At the time, the $10 million in shares were purchased for about $1 a share.

New Enphase CEO Kothandaraman worked 21 years at Cypress Semiconductor until he left in September 2016. For the previous five years he served as executive vice president for the 600-employee Data Communications division, which focused on USB 3.0 USB-C and Internet of Things products. He also ran Cypress’s 700-employee India business for the last four years of his service. With a B.Tech degree from IIT Madras and an M.S. degree in materials science from University of California, Berkeley, Kothandaraman joined Cypress in 1995.

Enphase Energy makes micro-inverters that attach to individual solar panels to change direct current into alternating current — the kind used in households and businesses for lighting, computing and manufacturing.

To diversify beyond micro-inverters, Enphase Energy started producing battery storage units. The new storage units, described as “AC batteries,” rely on lithium-iron-phosphate cells.

James Dunn covers technology, biotech, law, the food industry, and banking and finance. Reach him at: james.dunn@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4257