Is Another Chinese Solar Maker on the Road to Bankruptcy?

solar panels
Source: Thinkstock
Since Chinese solar panel makers Suntech and LDK Solar filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013 and 2014, respectively, the solar panel business has gotten more stable. Manufacturing overcapacity has dropped, but Chinese makers that expanded rapidly until about 2011 continue to be plagued with too much capacity and too little demand.

The next casualty appears to be Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (NYSE: YGE), which said Wednesday that it had received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange that the company is not in compliance with its rule for continued listing because the stock’s share price has fallen below $1.00 per ADS for a period of 30 consecutive days.

Yingli has six months from the date of the August 13 notice to regain compliance. The company said it expects to notify the NYSE that it intends to cure its price deficiency within the prescribed period.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITI) said on Wednesday that it expects the country’s solar makers to accelerate consolidation as market conditions continue to shift. MITI also said it expects “steady growth” in the country’s solar industry in the second half of the year, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The central planners of MITI may expect more consolidation, but under the country’s local control rules, it is difficult for the solar makers to take the necessary steps, given a local government’s drive to make itself look good by keeping employment numbers up. Closing a solar manufacturing plant does not make the powers-that-be look good.

Yingli’s ADSs traded down more than 9% Friday morning, at around $0.83 in a 52-week range of $0.72 to $4.03. The company’s market cap is about $150 million at that price. The ADSs hit an all-time high of $41.50 in December of 2007 and dropped to around $13.50 in February 2011, before skidding to the recent sub-$1.00 price range.

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