Jinko mulls IPO for projects unit

JinkoSolar, the first major Chinese PV manufacturer to rebound to profitability last year, is evaluating the possibility of spinning off its fast-growing projects business via an initial public offering.

Jinko, which claims it will have about 500MW of grid-connected PV on its books by the end of the year, is considering a “broad range” of options for its projects business – including an IPO, pre-IPO financing, and potential mergers or acquisitions with other companies.

“We believe now is an appropriate time to prudently explore strategic alternatives for this business,” says Jinko chairman Xiande Li, adding that a separation may better support “sustainable growth” of the unit.

No timeline was given for the possible IPO.

As of just a few months ago New York-listed Jinko appeared a relatively small player in global PV projects game, with about 100MW of installed capacity.

But like a number of Chinese PV manufacturers that have diversified into project development and EPC work, its hand has been strengthened greatly over the past year by Beijing’s aggressive push to expand the country’s solar-powered generation base.

China was the world's largest PV market in 2013 for the first time, and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.

In December Jinko signed a deal that will see it build 200MW of ground-mount PV capacity in northwestern Ningxia Autonomous Region, and only last week it secured 400m yuan ($66m) in project loans from the China Development Bank for other domestic projects.

Several weeks ago Jinko rival Trina Solar unveiled a deal that may see it build 1GW of PV capacity Xinjiang province.

After being decimated during the PV industry's recent downturn, shares of JinkoSolar have rallied hard, and are up nearly four-fold over the past year – leaving the company with a market valuation of nearly $800m.