Suntech, once the globe's solar panel leader, recently declared insolvency. Yingli has replaced Suntech as the global solar panel leader.
We are watching Suntech's "ambiguous bankruptcy" as the company struggles to survive or transform.
China's Suntech is looking for more time to restate its full-year 2012 financials while revealing that its 2012 revenue halved to $1.63 billion, according to Reuters. The firm will meet with its creditors in its home town of Wuxi later this month. Fourth-quarter revenue also dropped by almost half to $358 million, down from $629 million the previous year. The company now has a market cap of $115 million.
Earlier this week, Suntech canceled $1.3 billion in orders with South Korea's OCI for polysilicon feedstock, the raw material used to build solar panels -- not a surprising development in this market or for Suntech.
In March we reported that Mr. Shi Zhengrong, the founder of Suntech (STP), and Suntech CEO David King have been asked not to leave China while Suntech's financial situation is reviewed. Shi is an Australian citizen.
Shi Zhengrong was once called "The Sun King" and was China's richest man in 2006, with a worth from Suntech of approximately $1.7 billion. According to Bloomberg, "His roughly 30 percent stake today is down to about $32 million, if shareholders get anything out of the Chinese bankruptcy process."
In July 2012, Suntech's business partner, Global Solar Fund (GSF), faked $680 million in collateral for a loan backed by Suntech.
Suntech, faced with $2 billion in debt and with the fate of thousands of employees' jobs hanging in the balance, "is poised to be taken over partly or entirely by the municipal government's holding company in its hometown, Wuxi, China," according to reports in the New York Times after a confirmation from a Wuxi official on Wednesday of last week. Wuxi, with billions of dollars' worth of assets across a variety of industries, had been the rumored acquirer for a number of months. This news comes on the heels of mounting losing quarters and a boardroom coup involving the removal of Suntech's wealthy founder as chairman, and the shuttering of its 50-megawatt Goodyear, Arizona solar panel factory.
Note Suntech's steadily declining market share figures for U.S. residential and commercial solar in 2012 as installers shied away.
Table from GTM Research's U.S. PV Leaderboard, which tracks the top commercial and residential installers and module suppliers in the U.S. solar market.
Commercial developers with Suntech as a top supplier include SPG Solar, Consolidated Edison, and Nexamp. Residential installers with Suntech as a top supplier include Astrum Solar, Solar Universe, and Sungevity.