EMERGING MARKETS INVESTOR: COMPANY TO WATCH
By Gordon Platt
LDK Solar, based in Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Xinyu City, in China's Jiangxi Province, announced an $8.9 billion five-year strategic financing agreement with China Development Bank, easing a long-running cash crunch at the company and helping to fund its rapid expansion. Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and CEO of LDK Solar, says the financing will enable the company, a leading manufacturer of solar wafers and photovoltaic (PV) products, to pursue its long-term growth strategy and further strengthen its position in the PV industry. The company is already the world's largest producer of multicrystalline wafers, which are used to make solar cells.
LDK Solar has expanded its vertical manufacturing by completing the installation and trial runs of the first production line of solar cells in its new manufacturing facility in Xinyu City. "Our objectives of in-house cell production are to produce approximately 50% of our module manufacturing needs, thereby reducing the cost of our modules and attaining a stable supply of cells," Peng says.
The backing by the government-owned development bank will give the company a major boost at a time when China is pursuing ambitious renewable energy goals. In August the Anhui provincial government invited LDK Solar to invest in a solar cell and module manufacturing facility in the Hefei industrial development zone.
LDK Solar in September signed a memorandum of understanding with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory to collaborate on research and development related to silicon materials and solar PV devices.