Shunfeng lands $323 million credit line

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Chinese PV giant Shunfeng Photovoltaic International has secured a three-year revolving credit facility from China Merchants Bank of up to CNY 2 billion ($323 million).

The group’s Jiangxi Shunfeng Photovoltaic Investments subsidiary acquired the credit facility, which will be available to the unit’s 16 subsidiaries for fixed asset loans, financial guarantees and credit financing.

Shunfeng said it intends to use the credit facility for the development and construction of solar plant projects, adding that the credit facility would further enhance the group’s ability to develop and construct solar installations.

While China Merchant Bank sees itself as China’s first share-holding commercial bank, its major shareholder remains the state-owned China Merchants Group.

While the solar sector continues to boom in China, Shunfeng is now eyeing the U.S. market. Eric Luo, CEO of Shunfeng’s recently acquired Suntech, said earlier this month that the acquisition by Shunfeng had given the company "the strongest financial footing in the solar industry, with nearly zero debt," and added that the company was looking to expand in the U.S., where it is exploring acquisition.

Suntech business has also contributed to a significant improvement in Shunfeng’s financial performance in the first half of 2014.

Based on its unaudited consolidated management accounts, Shunfeng said on Monday that it now expected to record a profit attributable to shareholders for the period compared to a net loss recorded by the group in the first six months of 2013.

In addition to Suntech’s contribution, Shunfeng also attributed the turnaround to a "significant increased shipment volume of solar cells during the period"; the contribution of its solar power generation business; and a loss of CNY 673.1 million ($108.6 million) recognized in relation to the adjusted fair values of a convertible bond in the first half of last year.

Moreover, the group also announced that its Shunfeng Holdings subsidiary had agreed to make a maximum investment of JPY7.5 billion ($74 million) in a private equity fund based in the Caymen Islands that will in turn invest primarily in power station projects with an accumulated capacity of 100 MW in Japan.

Explaining the reason for the investment, Shunfeng said it was "a milestone success for the group to invest in solar power generation business in overseas market. "In the coming future, leveraging on the positive brand awareness of the brand of Shunfeng and the brand of Suntech gained over the years in the global market, the group will also eye on developing solar energy business overseas."