Hanergy to accept Hong Kong regulator demands over trading resumption

Hanergy's household PV sales performed strongly in 2016, aiding a return to profit, the company claims.

The Chinese thin-film PV manufacturer’s shares have been suspended since May 2015, while shortly after the suspension they sank 47% in a single morning’s trading session,

The unprecedented plunge — which followed a year of impressive gains on the Hong Kong market, amid questions over its dependence on sales of PV production equipment to its unlisted, Beijing-based parent — carved about $19 billion off its market capitalization.

The regulator is now taking Hanergy Holding chairman, executive director and controlling shareholder Li Hejun — at one point, one of the wealthiest men in China — to court in an effort to disqualify him, along with four independent, non-executive company directors.

It wants to disqualify the directors on claims that they prioritized the interests of the group over those of HTF, despite mounting questions over its opaque business model.

As a precondition to resuming trading, the SFC wants Li — who holds nearly 75% of HTF’s shares — and the four directors to step down from management duties for an unspecified period of time.

The regulator also wants Hanergy Holding and its subsidiaries to pay HTF for a number of undisclosed, internal sales contracts dating back to 2010-11.

Li will be required to provide formal guarantees that those outstanding debts — which stand at roughly HK$2.6 billion ($340 million) — will be paid within the next two years.

HTF plans to fulfill the SFC’s requirements in order to resume trading of its stock as quickly as possible, according to a company statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

In order to satisfy the regulator’s demands, the Hanergy group will have to publish information on its business, financial performance, assets, liabilities and future prospects.

However, at this point it remains uncertain whether shares of HTF will ever be traded on the bourse again.

The company recorded a net loss of HK$12.2 billion in 2015, after reporting a net profit of HK$3.2 billion in 2014. In the first six months of 2016, it posted a HK$820 million profit.