Solar project developer GCL New Energy has published annual results for last year fleshing out the grand project sell-off which, the company said, has completed a “magnificent turnaround,” to become an “asset-light” business.
The project subsidiary of polysilicon maker GCL-Poly sold off 2.9GW of solar generation capacity last year, to reduce its debt pile RMB11.2 billion ($1.76 billion). That left it with a project portfolio of 1,1051MW, the developer said yesterday, with a further 298MW marked for sale.
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The business, which sold off those swathes of solar projects to Chinese state-owned enterprizes, still made a loss, however, of RMB790 million ($124 million) for its shareholders. That was presented as a win compared to the RMB1.37 billion ($215 million) shed in 2020 and will come as no surprise after revenue fell from RMB5.02 billion ($788 million) to RMB2.85 billion ($447 million), year on year, including sales of electricity numbers which declined from RMB4.94 billion ($775 million), in 2020, to RMB2.69 billion ($422 million) last year.
In line with the asset-light definition, the value of GCL New Energy's non-current assets fell from RMB30.8 billion ($4.83 billion), in 2020, to RMB7.71 billion ($1.21 billion) and its current assets from RMB10.7 billion ($1.68 billion) to RMB7.42 billion ($1.16 billion), with RMB783 million ($123 million) worth marked for sale. While the company cash pile halved, from RMB1.14 billion ($179 million) to RMB586 million ($91.9 million), current liabilities did too, coming in from RMB23.5 billion ($3.69 billion), in 2020, to RMB3.64 billion ($571 million), and including a steepling fall in bank borrowings from RMB12.4 billion ($1.95 billion) to RMB1.08 billion ($169 million).
All that meant the net current liability value of RMB9.23 billion ($1.45 billion) posted in 2020 became a RMB4.56 billion ($715 million) asset last year. The company borrowings due this year also reduced, from RMB1.59 billion ($249 million) to RMB352 million ($55.2 million), year on year.
As to the future, aside from solar project operations and maintenance income – which rose to RMB79.6 million ($12.5 million) revenue last year, from RMB64.8 million ($10.2 million) a year earlier – and engineering, procurement and construction activity worth RMB70.3 million ($11 million), up from RMB23.7 million ($3.72 million), GCL New Energy remains keen to become a hydrogen project business.
Despite the collapse of a plan to take Ethiopian natural gas from connected business Poly-GCL Petroleum Investments Ltd, GCL New Energy said it is still exploring a procurement deal for the fuel as it stressed the importance of gas-fired “blue” hydrogen as a transitional source of the energy carrier, due the high costs of renewables-powered, green hydrogen. GCL has yet to explain the carbon capture and storage measures it will take to ensure any gas-fired hydrogen is blue, rather than the fossil-fuel rated “gray” version of the gas.
The company did at least mention an intent, further down the line, to provide “wind and solar-power-to-hydrogen, storage-integrated energy services.”
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