Sinovel faces China criminal probe

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has launched a criminal investigation against Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Sinovel for suspected violation of securities laws.

Sinovel revealed the probe in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE).

Sinovel did not reveal further details, other than to say that it would co-operate with the investigation.

The news sent shares in Sinovel plunging almost 10% at the close of trading in Shanghai today.

Sinovel first revealed it was the subject of inquiries by the Chinese regulators last May.

The criminal probe is the latest of several legal fronts on which Sinovel – formerly China’s biggest supplier of wind turbines and at one stage the global number-two – finds itself fighting.

In June a US grand jury charged Sinovel, two of its executives and a former employee of former key supplier AMSC with stealing trade secrets from the Massachusetts-based power technology group.

AMSC is also pursuing Sinovel through the Chinese courts for alleged intellectual property theft.

News of the criminal probe follows a warning by Sinovel last week that it expects to record another loss for the fourth quarter of 2013.

The Beijing-based company has not yet released its earnings for the period.

It said in October that it was on course to post another full-year loss and acknowledged that its high-profile problems have gravely affected its business.

It recorded a 699m yuan ($115m) net loss from January to September, from a 269m yuan deficit during the first nine months of 2012, as its sales continued to slide. Its nine-month operating income fell 44.6% to 2.01bn yuan.

Senior Sinovel officials told Recharge at a wind trade show in October that the company hoped to mount a comeback via its offshore business.

But analysts have said it faces a tough road to recover from the various setbacks it has faced over the last two years.