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China's Suntech Declares Bankruptcy

March 20, 2013
The company had been hit by oversupply in the global market for solar cells and panels, as well as trade disputes with the United States and Europe over alleged Chinese dumping and government subsidies to producers.

SHANGHAI -- One of the world's biggest producers of solar panels, China's Suntech (IW 1000/986), declared itself bankrupt on Wednesday, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The New York-listed company last week defaulted on payments on $541 million-worth of bonds. Suntech said on Monday it was seeking to restructure, and Xinhua said the firm had "declared bankruptcy reorganization" on Wednesday.

Suntech declined to immediately comment on the Xinhua report.

It has been badly hit by oversupply in the global market for solar cells and panels, as well trade disputes with the United States and Europe over alleged Chinese dumping and government subsidies to producers.

Chinese firms, including Suntech, have denied the claims.

Chinese state media on Tuesday quoted an official in the eastern city of Wuxi, where Suntech is headquartered, as saying it would undergo restructuring under bankruptcy proceedings.

"The government clearly has intervened and wants to reorganise the company and maintain production," Liu Wenping, a partner at Shanghai-based solar investment consulting firm Sapphire Capital  said.

The board ousted the company's founder, Shi Zhengrong, as chairman earlier this month, though he called the move "misconceived and unlawful."

A Chinese newspaper, the 21st Century Business Herald, on Wednesday quoted sources as saying Shi had the support of the Wuxi government and could return to Suntech as part of the reorganization.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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