The move, by Taitong Industry Ltd, will come as a fresh blow to the Chinese module manufacturer, which twice failed to go public – in the U.S. and China – and whose project development business suffered a battering in China when Beijing reined in subsidies in 2018.
The controlling shareholder of Nanjing-based solar module manufacturer and project developer ET Solar has filed for bankruptcy in a Chinese court.
Taitong Industry Ltd, which holds a 23.82% stake in ET Solar, applied for bankruptcy in the city of Taizhou, Jiangsu province, in December due to unliquidated debt, pv magazine has learned.
The news is the latest shock for ET Solar, which in August 2018 had announced a plan to join forces with cash-rich smaller module making rival Tungshu Kangtu, leveraging its cash pile while opening up its international order book and ability to hit big orders to its partner.
That strategic co-operation had come after the ET Solar Inc U.S. module distribution subsidiary of the Chinese manufacturer had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2017, reporting assets of less than $50,000 against debts of $10-50 million. In August, California-based ET Solar Inc announced it had settled its Chapter 11 claims and was reopen for business amid a booming U.S. order book, thanks to the help of new backers.
Those investors in the ET Solar U.S. subsidiary were the Yuanfar subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Group and the Wuxi Bardon Co Chinese solar module manufacturing business which it is understood also received support from Yuanfar.
ET Solar got a new 500 MW annual production capacity cell plant up and running in Vietnam last year and in July also announced plans for 300 MW each of cell and module lines in Cambodia. The Cambodia facilities were planned to take shape last year as well but it is understood they are now timetabled for operation this year.
Taitong Industry owner Wang Xinghua – the effective controller of ET Solar – quit as chairman of the latter in July, in the wake of the departure of CEO She Haifeng, who jumped ship to Chinese rival Longi.
ET Solar was founded in 2005 and originally focused on module manufacturing. In 2008, the company turned to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and gradually became the largest Chinese solar EPC in the world. In 2012, ET Solar established its U.S. branch and, by the end of 2018, had developed around 3 GW of solar generation capacity in more than 50 countries.
The company returned to its heartland in 2015 to exploit a blooming domestic market after an unsuccessful IPO attempt in the U.S. However, much tighter operating margins in China affected ET Solar’s capital reserves.
In early 2018, ET solar again tried to go public, this time via a backdoor listing in China, but after almost a year the procedure was terminated because of equity pledges which fell short of Chinese listing requirements. At the same time, the abrupt u-turn on public subsidies for solar plants announced by Beijing at the end of May 2018 hammered ET Solar and many of its EPC peers.
Source: pv magazine