Comtec posts $146 million net loss in 2016

Revenue fell 25.8% year on year, to CNY 810 million ($117.5 million), according to audited results released to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Its loss per share for the year stood at CNY 0.69, from CNY 0.31 in 2015.

These grim results are broadly in line with the “substantial” annual net loss Comtec Solar Systems forecast in early January. It attributed its poor performance to ongoing restructuring efforts, which have included writing down monocrystalline silicon production assets in Malaysia. Chinese monocrystalline silicon producer Longi has agreed to buy those assets — which were still being tested in 2016 — at a sharp discount of CNY 200 million ($29 million).

Comtec said that it failed to start operating its production lines in Malaysia beyond pilot testing last year, because of the “unfavorable global macroeconomic environment.” It said that due to the small size of those assets, as well as staffing issues, its Malaysian unit has recorded cumulative losses of about CNY 178.5 million ($26 million) since its establishment in 2013.

“At the same time, the industry landscape for the monocrystalline silicon business deteriorated in the second half of 2016, with certain major players who use monocrystalline silicon wafers, such as those produced by Comtec Malaysia, scaling back or even shutting down their production,” it said.

Comtec is trying to scale down the size of its manufacturing business while expanding its focus on downstream PV project development, according to its annual report. Specifically, it wants to develop distributed-generation solar projects on industrial, commercial and residential rooftops in China.

The Shanghai-based integrated solar specialist has already started acquiring new downstream assets, most recently with the purchase of a 51% stake in residential rooftop PV developer Forum (Asia).

Earlier this year, Comtec also invested in smart energy charging facilities for electric vehicles (EVs) in Luoyang, China’s Henan province.