Goldpoly to Buy China Developer to Boost Demand for Solar Cells

Goldpoly New Energy Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based solar-cell maker, agreed to buy a Chinese power-plant developer partly owned by GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. to create an outlet for its products.

Goldpoly already owns 7.83 percent of China Merchants New Energy Holdings Ltd. and will pay HK$2.12 billion ($273 million) in stock and convertible bonds for the rest, according to a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Ease Soar, a GCL-Poly unit that currently owns 17.4 percent of China Merchants, will own 13 percent of Goldpoly when the deal is complete, becoming its second-largest owner.

The deal is the latest consolidation in China’s solar-manufacturing industry, where margins and profits have been crushed by a 61 percent decline in panel prices over the past two years, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Other solar producers including First Solar Inc. are expanding efforts to build power plants that use their panels.

Goldpoly is “concerned” about falling panel prices and “has been looking for opportunities to expand its business downstream,” according to the filing. The acquisition “will increase the internal consumption of the solar cells produced.”

China Merchants has units that assemble solar panels and develop photovoltaic projects, and expects to build or acquire about 2.2 gigawatts of solar farms through 2015. The company is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and most of its operations are in China. The companies didn’t say in the statement when the sale will close.

Goldpoly shares will resume trading Jan. 21. They were at HK$1.27 when they were suspended Nov. 23 “pending the release of this announcement,” according to the filing.

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