SPH, Wuxi Suntech strike sales deal

Suntech Power Holdings has come to a number of temporary commercial agreements with Wuxi Suntech, even as it expressed consternation at its ongoing inability to exert control over its former subsidiary.

Earlier this week Shunfeng’s shareholders approved the company’s takeover of Wuxi Suntech, ostensibly gaining control over the Suntech factories, intellectual property and brand name.

Suntech Power Holdings (SPH), however, retains control over most of the former Suntech empire’s vast and well-connected sales and distribution networks. SPH today said that its joint provisional liquidators have negotiated a number of short-term arrangements with Wuxi Suntech that will allow it to take advantage of those networks.

For the next year, SPH will act as an intermediary for the sale of Wuxi Suntech-made PV kit in the US and Europe – and will earn a commission on any sales.

SPH will also provide after-sales services on Wuxi Suntech products, and it will license certain product certifications that it owns to Wuxi Suntech until the latter is able to obtain them in its own right.

Wuxi Suntech has also agreed to “support” the restructuring of Suntech Power International Ltd., SPH’s principal operating subsidiary in Europe, which is undergoing restructuring in Switzerland.

The suite of announcements is the first sign of détente between SPH and its former manufacturing arm since a Chinese administrator agreed last autumn to sell Wuxi Suntech out of bankruptcy into Shunfeng.

SPH disputes the legal validity of the sale, and the company’s lawyers and liquidators continue in their attempt to claw back as much value as possible for SPH’s bereft creditors.

While insisting that it continues to investigate the sale of Wuxi Suntech to Shunfeng, SPH today acknowledged that it remains unable “to exert management control or authority” over Wuxi Suntech.

Wuxi Suntech’s new chief executive, Eric Luo, recently laid out the company’s growth plans under Shunfeng’s ownership to Recharge.