Trina Solar receives management buyout proposal

Tier 1 Chinese solar panel manufacturer Trina Solar has received a proposal from its chairman and CEO, Jifan Gao, backed by the Shanghai Xingsheng Equity Investment & Management Co, to “acquire all of the outstanding shares of the company not owned by the Buyer Group”, in a move that – if accepted – would see Trina go private.

The proposed management buyout (MBO) is anchored on an offer by the buyer group to purchase the remaining ordinary American depositary shares (ADS) for $11.6 per ADS, representing a premium of 21.5% above the closing price of its ADSs on December 11.

This offer price is also some 20.2% more than the average closing price of Trina’s ADSs over the past 90 trading days.

Trina Solar has created a special committee to consider the proposal, with two independent directors and the board – minus Gao – mulling the offer to go private. In a press release issued Monday, Trina Solar confirmed that it can make no assurance that any definitive offer will be made, nor did the company give any indication as to whether it would accept such an offer.

Last week the solar company exited the EU price undertaking, stating that it would continue to serve the European solar market via its overseas manufacturing facilities rather than continue to pay the minimum import price (MIP) levied on solar goods from China.

This decision has been interpreted within the industry as a further distancing from Europe by Trina Solar, and comes amid relative upheaval within the company’s European division. In October Trina’s former European head Ben Hill left the company as part of the management reshuffle, while the company continued to fend off queries about the possibility of spinning-off its PV project business from its manufacturing objectives.