LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) announced Friday it plans to sell $200.4 million in American depositary shares to raise more money for manufacturing.
The Xinyu City, China-based solar-wafer manufacturer said it would offer 4.8 million American depositary shares at $41.75 each. In filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company didn't disclose how much it expects to net from the sale.
LDK said it plans to use approximately 60 percent of the net proceeds to build a silicon-manufacturing plant, approximately 30 percent to expand its wafer-production capacity and the final 10 percent for "general corporate activities."
The company is constructing two silicon factories – a 1,000-ton plant and a 15,000-ton plant – and in April already raised $400 million to build the plants and support a planned wafer-capacity expansion (see LDK to Raise $400M).
The company, which said it has grown its multicrystalline solar-wafer production capacity from 880 megawatts in June to 1 gigawatt in August, expects to reach an annual capacity of approximately 1.1 gigawatts by the end of the year and 2 gigawatts by the end of next year. LDK also plans to begin producing monocrystaline wafers, which convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently than multicrystalline wafers, in the fourth quarter of this year and to reach about 100 megawatts of annual capacity by the end of 2008 and 200 megawatts by the end of 2009.
At that time, Hakan Telenius, organizer of the LDK Investor Group, said he expected the money would be sufficient for the rest of 2008, and that the company "would only raise more if they were not able to deliver on 2009 numbers."
LDK, which was founded in 2005 and made an initial public offering last year, didn't respond to calls and emails asking why it needs more money to complete its plants or whether it expects a delay.
But in an SEC filing, the company said its estimated total cost to build the polysilicon plant (made up of two factories in the same location) is approximately $1.3 billion.
The company in April said it planned to spend $1.2 billion on its first two silicon plants, along with $600 million to expand its wafer production (see LDK Seeks Big-Time Capital).
At the time, LDK said it would finance the bulk of the cost through its operations, including expected net profits of $200 million in 2008 and $400 million in 2009, as well as about $1 billion in expected customer deposits for long-term wafer contracts for this year and next year.
The company expected a shortfall of at least $200 million, which investors hoped would be more than satisfied by the $400 million it raised in April.
In July, LDK announced that it had completed the first phase of construction on its smaller silicon plant and was on track to begin production by October (see LDK Silicon Plant on Track). But it still was awaiting more equipment to complete the plant, which it expected to happen at the end of the year.
It also planned to complete the first phase of its larger silicon plant by the end of this year.
In a research note in June, Piper Jaffray analyst Jesse Pichel wrote that he remains "cautious on LDK's ability to ramp its polysilicon plant on time," although he expected the company could achieve 16,000 metric tons of capacity in 2009.
According to an SEC filing Friday, LDK still expects to complete the equipment installation at its 1,000-ton plant and to have it operational by the end of the year.
At its 15,000-ton plant, the company plans to complete equipment installation for an annual capacity of 6,000 metric tons by the end of this year, but said it would not begin production at the plant until 2009. In spite of the installation, LDK only expects 5,000 metric tons of capacity to become operational in the first half of next year, said the filing.
"We do not expect to produce any significant quantities of polysilicon prior to 2009," according to the prospectus.
USB AG and Goldman Sachs LLC are underwriting the latest offering.
LDK shares fell 5.26 percent on the news to close at $41.44 per share Friday.