GCL-Poly acquires stake in circuit board business


Chinese polysilicon and wafer manufacturer GCL-Poly has continued its push into project development by agreeing to take a majority stake in printed circuit board maker Same Time Holdings Limited.

GCL has subscribed to buy 360 million shares being issued by Same Time, which agreed to the deal to diversify into solar project development amid fears over the sustainability of its labor-intensive circuit board business which it put down to minimum wage trends in its native China.

GCL will pay HK$4 per share – HK$1.44 billion (US$186 million) – for a 67.99% stake in the Bermuda-registered Same Time and would also acquire its wholly-owned British Virgin Islands-registered investment holding subsidiary Same Time International.

Deal subject to a shareholder vote

The share subscription agreement will be subject to a vote by Same Time shareholders and to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where both companies are registered, granting a ‘whitewash waiver’ to exempt GCL from the takeover rule which would force them to bid for the remaining shares in Same Time.

In a joint statement to the Hong Kong exchange by both companies yesterday, GCL said the acquisition would allow it to ‘leverage on a separate listing platform to focus on the renewable energy sector and in particular, solar plants, solar projects and solar energy assets,’ adding: "By doing so, the subscriber’s (GCL-Poly) business would become more focused and organized."

The joint statement said particulars relating to the special general meeting required to hold the Same Time shareholder vote, would be issued ‘as soon as is practicable.’