Chinese parent taking bigger role in SPI Solar of Roseville

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 10:25 am

Roseville-based solar-energy developer SPI Solar, which has been navigating rough fiscal seas for some time, announced Tuesday that it is changing course.

SPI announced it is going to more closely align its operations with LDK Solar Co., its China-based parent company.

SPI said the realignment plan came "after a thorough review of business and construction financing conditions in the solar industry that have affected SPI.

"As part of this realignment, the company plans to expand its project business in China while continuing operations in North America and Europe."

Xiaofeng Peng, board chairman of SPI and LDK, said: "We believe these initiatives will enable improved access to construction financing, provide continuity for SPI's customers and help drive enhanced stockholder value for both companies.

"SPI's significant (engineering, procurement and construction) experience will enable LDK to leverage greater international solar industry growth opportunities, particularly in China, while SPI continues to manage and grow its platform of U.S.-based solar-energy facilities."

Officials said they believe SPI's strengths combined with LDK's solar panel and module manufacturing capabilities will produce results.

SPI said Steve Kircher, former chief executive officer and president of SPI since its inception in 2006, will continue to serve as the company's chief strategy officer.

SPI just announced a $6.8 million loss in this year's second quarter, and it lost $25.6 million in all of 2012. Net sales in this year's second quarter totaled $4.2 million, down from $24.4 million a year ago.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing earlier this year, SPI warned of "substantial doubt as to the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Realigning with LDK is not without risk. LDK, which owns about 70 percent of SPI, has itself struggled with cash-shortage problems.

The solar-energy industry has presented a mixed bag of results regionally.

Just last week, San Mateo-based SolarCity Corp. announced a definitive agreement to acquire Roseville's Paramount Solar in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at about $120 million.

Paramount Solar, which employs about 150, does solar sales and marketing. It will retain its local offices but do business under the SolarCity name.

Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

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