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Shunfeng Gets $3.3 Billion Minsheng Credit Agreement

Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd., controlled by solar tycoon Zheng Jianming and owner of what was once the world’s biggest solar manufacturer, got a credit facility for as much as 20 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) from China Minsheng Banking Corp.

The two-year credit line from Minsheng, China’s first privately owned lender, will be extended automatically for one year when it expires, Changzhou, China-based Shunfeng said today in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Strong demand for solar power is benefiting Shunfeng and Wuxi Suntech Power, which it acquired in April for 3 billion yuan. Suntech filed for bankruptcy in China last year after a global solar slump dragged down prices and ate into margins.

“It’s obviously a very large loan,” Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in Houston, said today by e-mail. “But Suntech was a large operation, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are commensurately hefty working capital needs.”

Shunfeng sold HK$6 billion ($774 million) of shares to build solar power plants in June and has a goal to “become the world’s largest integrated clean-energy supplier,” Suntech Chief Executive Officer Eric Luo said in a video on the company’s website.

Overseas Plants

Shunfeng’s biggest holder Zheng took a 30 percent stake in the company in 2012. Through holding companies, he also owns about 22 percent of LDK Solar Co., the second-biggest solar wafer supplier by 2012 capacity.

Suntech is seeking to be closer to its customers and is evaluating “different options” for manufacturing plants in Southeast Asia, North America and South America, Luo said in a June interview.

Suntech may be able to circumvent U.S. anti-subsidy duties against Chinese producers that were set in June, in Suntech’s case, at 35.21 percent. Luo denied that the duties were a factor in the decision in the interview.

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