Is a Shakeout Coming in Chinese Solar Stocks?

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That the Chinese solar PV makers are having a tough time is not news. How they plan to deal with it is.

The CEO of JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) has come up with one way: he has offered to take the company private. Baofang Jin has offered to acquire all the outstanding shares of JA Solar for $9.69 per American depositary share (ADS), a 20% premium to the stock’s closing price on Thursday. The nonbinding offer depends on completion of a definitive agreement following due diligence and a financing arrangement.

The company’s stock once traded at about $365 a share but collapsed in 2008 and has never recovered. Overexpansion of production facilities came at exactly the wrong time for JA Solar and for many other China’s solar makers. Some have gone bankrupt, like LDK Solar, and some continue to hang on.

Yingli Green Energy Holdings Inc. (NYSE: YGE), which reported quarterly results Friday morning, is still hanging on. The company posted an adjusted net loss per ADS of $0.32 on revenues of $468.7 million. Analysts had been looking for a net loss per share of $0.24 and revenues of $454.6 million.

Analysts were not expecting much and Yingli delivered. Revenues were down about 7.5% year over year, and gross profits tumbled sequentially on lower sales and higher manufacturing costs.

It may be that the only way for the weak solar makers to survive is to be taken private, and those deals depend to a large extent on a company’s relationship with the local governments in China and with their own banks. If that is the case, JA Solar could be a survivor and Yingli still has some work to do.

JA Solar traded up about 16% in New York just after Friday’s opening, at $9.37 in a 52-week range of $6.70 to $11.31.

Yingli shares were up 6.6% to $1.13, in a 52-week range of $0.72 to $4.04.

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