Hanergy Thin Film Faces Suit Over Unpaid Rent at Vacated Office

A unit of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd. faces a lawsuit over HK$1.73 million ($223,000) in unpaid office rent and management fees, a signal of further financial trouble for the Chinese solar-equipment maker.

Hanergy Thin Film Power Asia Pacific Ltd., which is responsible for the company’s business in the region, is the target of a writ filed Dec. 3 at the High Court of Hong Kong. The Center (77) Ltd., the landlord of its office, said the unit hasn’t paid rent or air-conditioning and management fees since Nov. 1.

The court filing is a new sign of potential strain at Hanergy Thin Film, whose shares have been suspended since May, when they plunged 47 percent and lost about $19 billion in market value. Analysts had raised questions about its revenue after Hanergy said more than half its sales derived from its Beijing-based parent, and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission ordered shares suspended indefinitely amid an investigation.

The Financial Times reported details of the writ earlier today. Calls to Hanergy Thin Film and its parent Hanergy Holding Group weren’t answered. An email sent to the group seeking comment wasn’t returned.

The 77th-floor office of Hanergy Thin Film Power Asia Pacific has been cleared of furniture and its doors shut with a combination bicycle lock. A letter to Chief Executive Officer Fred Hu and other mail lay uncollected on the floor as of Wednesday afternoon.

The affiliate started renting the premises from May 1, 2014 for three years, according to the court document. The plaintiff can proceed with action against Hanergy Thin Film if the claim isn’t satisfied within 14 days, which would be Dec. 17.

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group’s headquarters are located elsewhere, in the International Commerce Center in Hong Kong’s Kowloon, according to the company.

Hanergy Thin Film in August posted its first semi-annual loss since 2011 after suspending contracts with parent Hanergy Holding and affiliates. Ikea Group said in November it won’t renew its contract with the Hong Kong-listed company to fit homes with solar panels.

— With assistance by Alfred Liu, Feifei Shen, and Fion Li

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