Caixin
Jul 13, 2021 05:30 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Chinese Solar Giants Seek Sunnier Valuations With Home Listings

Chinese solar companies may be worried about the potential impact of a recent U.S. import ban on four Chinese makers of polysilicon. Photo: VCG
Chinese solar companies may be worried about the potential impact of a recent U.S. import ban on four Chinese makers of polysilicon. Photo: VCG

Two of China’s top solar panel makers have applied for secondary listings on China’s 2-year-old enterprise-style STAR Market, seeking higher valuations from their current U.S. listings.

Jinko Solar Co. Ltd. and CSI Solar Co. Ltd. have been carved out as the main operating assets of their U.S.-listed parents and filed IPO applications to raise 6 billion yuan ($927 million) and 4 billion yuan, respectively, on the STAR Market, according to the Shanghai bourse.

In its prospectus (link in Chinese), Jinko Solar said its secondary IPO will help to address a funding shortage. It added it will use proceeds from the listing to boost its financial position and expand its production of solar modules.

The move comes as Chinese solar panel makers shift their focus back to domestic capital markets from the U.S. where their stocks are generally valued at lower levels compared to what they would get in China, an electricity industry analyst told Caixin speaking on condition of anonymity.

U.S. pressure on Chinese-listed firms to make their accounting records more available for inspection when fraud is suspected may also be driving the move to make such secondary listings back at home.

The global photovoltaic supply and sales chains are gradually moving from Europe and North America to China, which has become the world’s largest market for photovoltaic products both in terms of production and applications.

European and American investors are relatively unfamiliar with Chinese companies in the industry, the analyst said. Accordingly, such companies are returning to more familiar domestic stock markets to improve their financing ability and fund business expansion – a trend that is likely to intensify stiff competition, the analyst added.

Two other major Chinese solar panel makers, Trina Solar Co. Ltd. (688599.SH) and JA Solar Technology Co. Ltd. (002459.SZ), returned to Chinese mainland stock markets in 2020 and 2019, respectively, after abandoning their U.S. listings. Both saw their market capitalizations rise substantially after their homecomings.

Valuations for both Jinko Solar and CSI Solar, whose U.S.-listed parent uses the name Canadian Solar Inc., are expected to increase after their domestic listings. As of July 9 Jinko Solar’s parent, JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd., had a market capitalization of $2.7 billion on the New York Stock Exchange, while CSI Solar’s parent was worth $2.45 billion on the Nasdaq.

In addition to the valuation gap, Chinese solar companies may also worry about the potential impact of a recent U.S. import ban on four Chinese makers of polysilicon, the main ingredient used to make solar panels, due to alleged links to human rights violations in the western Xinjiang region. China has repeatedly denied such claims.

Jinko and CSI may purchase some polysilicon for their solar panels from the sanctioned companies. But neither company was directly sanctioned, and it wasn’t clear if their finished panels might also be subject to U.S. import restrictions, or if the two companies themselves may be sanctioned in the future.

One sanctioned company, New York-listed polysilicon maker Daqo New Energy Corp. Ltd., has also been approved to carve out and list its Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co. Ltd. subsidiary on the STAR Market to raise (link in Chinese) 5 billion yuan in a secondary IPO.

Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (yingzheguo@caixin.com) and editor Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

Download our app to receive breaking news alerts and read the news on the go.

Get our weekly free Must-Read newsletter.

You've accessed an article available only to subscribers
VIEW OPTIONS
Share this article
Open WeChat and scan the QR code