Overdue subsidy payments force Chinese solar developer to sell off prized LED business

Shunfeng International wants shareholders to wave through the sale of a business unit which offered a rare positive update in its last set of annual accounts. The parent wants to accept an offer for the operation from a company controlled by one of the directors of the seller.

June 23, 2021

With an unpaid debt pile of US$328 million, some of which dates back to September 2019, Chinese solar developer Shunfeng International today stressed to shareholders the importance of selling off its profitable LED manufacturing operation.

pv magazine reported in April that Shunfeng was preparing to sell off its Lattice Power operation despite a 55% rise in LED-related profits providing a rare positive in its accounts for 2020.

In an update to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today, the developer again spelled out its list of creditors to explain why its Lattice Power subsidiary should be permitted to accept an offer of RMB670 million (US$103 million) for the Lattice Power (Jiangxi) Co Ltd operation.

The proposed sale, to a Nanchang Guanggu Group Ltd business 61.54% controlled by Lattice Power director Wang Min, would generate a RMB391 million (US$60.4 million) windfall for Shunfeng, thanks to its controlling stake in the seller.

Shunfeng said it would use RMB341 million to pay off creditors. The solar developer, which ended its manufacturing operations in 2019, said it is suffering because the Chinese authorities have only paid solar subsidies due to its solar farms up to March 2018, meaning it is owed RMB1.77 billion (US$273 million) in electricity tariffs by the state.

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Listing its unpaid debts, the company said it has owed Chongqing International Trust Co Ltd RMB666 million since September 2019, although it expects to sign an agreement next month to delay settlement until the end of this year.

There appears to be no resolution in sight for the HK$172 million (US$22.1 million) owed to True Bold Global Ltd since November 2019, the HK$1.15 billion (US$148 million) owed Sino Alliance since the end of 2019, nor the RMB357 million owed to investors in a 2015 convertible bond which matured in March last year. The latest Shunfeng update added: “The company has not received any demand of immediate repayment from the creditors of the company.”

The developer will also have to find RMB255 million (US$39.4 million) for investors in a 2016 convertible bond which will mature on October 25, repay HK$175 million to Rainbow Fort Investments Ltd by November 30, and settle a HK$300 million (US$38.6 million) obligation with China Minsheng Banking Corp which is due by the end of the year.

An extraordinary general meeting of the business will be held on July 13 to vote on the proposed sale of the LED business.

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This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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