GCL wants to sell 977 MW solar portfolio to pay down debt


Chinese polysilicon giant GCL Poly wants to continue divesting solar plant assets in its homeland to pay down the huge debts it is accruing to finance the continued rapid expansion of its production capacity.

Hong Kong listed GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd, and solar plant development subsidiary GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd, will ask shareholders to approve a plan to sell off a majority stake in a portfolio of 19 PV plants in China with a total generation capacity of 977 MW.

The net proceeds of the deal to sell the generation assets to investment vehicle Shanghai Rongyao New Energy Co Ltd have been estimated at RMB2 billion ($289 million), with the GCL board stating the windfall would be used for “further payment of debts”, in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today.

The sale of a 70% stake in the projects, plus 70% of a shareholder loan to the projects, would generate RMB1.74 billion, with the balance coming from outstanding dividends due to GCL. As part of the deal, a GCL subsidiary would supply operations, maintenance and management services to the portfolio for three years, with purchaser Shanghai Rongyao having the option to extend the arrangement for a further three years.

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Of perhaps more significance is the statement that Shanghai Rongyao and its investment partner Tibet Yunshang Investment Fund Management Co Ltd would explore the possibility of acquiring further assets from GCL.

The stock market update revealed GCL project development subsidiary GCL New Energy is in the process of “transforming its business to an asset-light model” and that Tibet Yunshang intends to build up a RMB6 billion cash pile for acquisitions.

GCL is one of several Chinese solar manufacturers which appear to be betting the house on a worldwide solar boom by borrowing to their limit to expand production capacity as quickly as possible. The breakneck pursuit of global market share is being pursued despite the danger of an all-out trade war between the the U.S. and China which continues to cause share price shocks across Asia-Pacific indices.

No date has yet been announced for the extraordinary general meeting at which shareholders in GCL-Poly and GCL New Energy will vote on the proposed stake sale.

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