China: LDK partners with coal producer; appoints new CEO


China’s Caixin Online has reported that ailing photovoltaic manufacturer, LDK Solar has entered into a partnership with Pingdingshan Yicheng New Material Co., a subsidiary of China Pingmei Shenma. The two parties will reportedly install photovoltaic projects in Henan province.

While the financial details were not disclosed, Caixin Online said the new venture was registered on August 15 and has a capital of RMB20 million (around US$3.2 million, €2.5 million).

In the past few months, LDK is said to have received a controversial government bailout worth RMB 500 million from the Xinyu Municipal People’s Congress. It has also entered into a 19.9% share purchase agreement with Heng Rui Xin Energy, said to be worth around RMB 147 million, and sold three of its photovoltaic rooftop plants in China to Henan Xindaxin Materials Co. for RMB 140 million.

In related news, LDK Solar has today announced the appointment of a new CEO. Xingxue Tong will immediately take over the post from Xiaofeng Peng, who will continue on a chairman of the board. Tong was previously president, COO and a company director.

"In light of the continued challenging environment for solar companies, I have determined that I can best serve the company by focusing my time on guiding LDK Solar’s strategic direction and developing partner and other key relationships," explained Xiaofeng Peng.

The company has also announced the appointment of Ceng Wang, chief strategic advisor of China Shenfei Group; Shian Wu, president of Jiangxi Yuzhou Scientific and Technological Institute; Zhibin Liu, chairman of the board and the general manager of Xinyu State-owned Asset Management Co., Ltd; Hongjiang Yao, board secretary of Xinyu Iron & Steel Joint Stock Company; and Xuezhi Liu, vice president of Hi-tech Wealth Investment and Developing Co., Ltd, to its board of directors. The board has designated Mr. Wang and Mr. Wu as independent directors.

China’s government has recently come under fire for financially supporting its domestic photovoltaic manufacturers, including LDK, Suntech, Trina and Yingli. Most recent is the unveiling of a RMB 70 billion "emergency stimulus plan" to rescue the solar industry. According to Forbes, the project will be sponsored by several government departments.

Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that China has today launched a dispute with the World Trade Organization, challenging the European Union’s solar support. "China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that some EU countries’ laws provided subsidies for solar electricity generation if components for the projects were produced in Europe, violating WTO rules," wrote the news agency.

In retaliation to the photovoltaic trade case initiated in the EU against Chinese manufacturers, China launched its own investigation into imports of polysilicon from the EU into the country last week.