PG&E Corp. (PCG) - Get Report said Monday it plans to begin voluntary bankruptcy proceedings under Chapter 11 in the face of billions of dollars in potential liability for recent California wildfires.
In a statement, the California utility company said it intends to file petitions to reorganize under Chapter 11 on or about Jan. 29.
"PG&E expects that the Chapter 11 process will, among other things, support the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of its potential liabilities resulting from the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires, and will assure the company has access to the capital and resources it needs to continue to provide safe service to customers," the company said.
PG&E said it doesn't "expect any impact to electric or natural gas service for its customers as a result of the Chapter 11 process."
The company announced late Sunday that Geisha Williams was stepping down as CEO and has resigned from the boards of both the utility and the holding company. Company veteran John Simon was named interim CEO. Simon has been executive vice president and general counsel since 2017 and has been with the company since 2007.
Under state law, passed only recently, the utility had to inform employees of a bankruptcy filing or any change in control of the company at least 15 days in advance.
Last week, S&P Global Ratings lowered PG&E's credit rating to single-B, two notches below the investment grade threshold, affecting around $18 billion in outstanding bonds and sending the group's shares more than 22% lower on Wall Street.
In November, PG&E warned investors that it faced significant liability over and above its insurance capacity if its equipment was found to have sparked the deadly Camp Fire that started in Paradise, Calif., and spread through nearby communities, killing at least 86 people and causing billions in economic and environmental damage.
The stock tumbled by 52.4% to $8.38 on Monday.
Can a bankruptcy actually be an investing opportunity?