Solar shakeout: Chinese banking commission adds PV sector to credit risk list

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The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has warned Chinese banks that the country's PV industry represents a credit risk, according to reports.

The warning comes after Suntech Power Holdings subsidiary, Suntech Wuxi, was forced into bankruptcy restructuring by eight Chinese bank lenders and prompted several of the company's suppliers to report bad debts and possible losses.

The result, according to other reports, is that previously agreed credit approval rights have been withdrawn, notably for industry sectors that have outdated production equipment as well as suffering from overcapacity. The Bank of China had already downgraded the status of its loan to Suntech.

The chairman of China Development Bank (CDB), Chen Yuan, was cited in reports to have said that the bank would reduce new loans specifically to PV module manufacturers in the country.

Recently, management of Korean-owned Hanwha SolarOne, which has its module manufacturing operations in China, said that lines of credit to module manufacturers had continued to tighten in recent quarters.

However, US-traded Chinese solar stocks have also seen a significant sell off, and doubts have risen over whether these companies would attempt to raise capital through the bond market after Suntech Power Holdings recent default.

Raising capital by issuing shares remains a possibility. 

Market listed module suppliers including Yingli Green, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar have all posted losses for 2012 and none have guided a return to profitability in 2013.

Two key polysilicon and wafer suppliers, listed on exchanges, GCL-Poly and Daqo New Energy both recently reported significant losses for 2012. Both polysilicon producers had to warn investors of diminished cash reserves that could prove critical to going concern status. 

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