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Liens filed against polysilicon plant owner Hoku


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POSTED: Friday, August 28, 2009

POCATELLO, Idaho » Contractors have filed about $16 million in liens against Hoku Scientific Inc., which has been attempting to raise money to complete its unfinished polysilicon plant in Pocatello.

JH Kelly LLC, the Washington-based general contractor overseeing construction, filed the largest lien late last month of just under $13 million.

Honolulu-based Hoku wants to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market at the plant, but construction nearly came to a standstill earlier this year because the company still needs to come up with more than $100 million of the $390 million cost of the plant.

“;The thing I want to emphasize is that Hoku has been very good to work with,”; Pat Wilson, senior construction manager on the project for JH Kelly, told the Idaho State Journal. “;They've been upfront. They've been open about the challenges they've faced, and we at JH Kelly are doing the same thing in terms of our dealings with subcontractors and suppliers. They've got some funding issues, so we're working together. As a standard course of business, no matter what, you have to take care of business, and putting a lien in place just protects our rights. As responsible business people, you've got to do that.”;

Scott Paul, chief operating officer for Hoku Scientific, said the company is still working on getting financing.

“;As we announced a few weeks ago, due to some of our challenges in completing the financing for our plant, we've slowed down some of the construction and procurement for our plant to provide the time to complete some of our financing activities, which will probably take a couple of months,”; Paul said. “;When we do that, our vendors and contractors have a process they need to follow—file a lien to protect their rights. It's just part of the normal process they go through when there's a slowdown or delay.”;

Paul added that none of the companies have made efforts to foreclose on their liens.

“;They're working with us to give us the time we need so they can get paid in full,”; Paul said.

“;We're in real-time discussions with all of our vendors. Separately, we're talking with them about how we're going to resume work and when they're going to get paid.”;

The Pocatello plant, if finished, would add about 200 jobs in the region.