Hanwha shifts key exec to Q Cells

Korea’s Hanwha Group has shifted Dong Kwan Kim, a central figure within its solar ambitions, from Hanwha SolarOne to “sister company” Hanwha Q Cells, potentially signalling greater integration between the two.

Kim joined the Hanwha Group in January 2010 and has played an “integral” role in identifying the solar sector as a growth engine for the business group, Hanwha says.

Later that year Hanwha bought a controlling minority interest in China’s Solarfun, an ingot-to-module manufacturer, and it followed up last year by acquiring Germany’s Q-Cells.

Although both companies have since been rebranded, there has been less integration between them than some analysts initially expected. Despite its bankruptcy, Q Cells remains one of the best-known brands in the global PV industry.

Kim is currently a board member and chief strategy officer at Hanwha SolarOne. He will resign those positions to take up an unnamed role at Hanwha Q Cells.

His role at Q Cells will focus on strengthening the company’s downstream strategy and its position within Europe, while ensuring it maintains its technological edge, Hanwha says.

Both Q Cells and SolarOne have benefited hugely from Hanwha’s ownership during a tough period for the industry, as evidenced last month by the latter obtaining a $100m loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

SolarOne is unique in its access to competitive finance from both Chinese and Korean financial institutions.