Suntech says the convertible loan will support the transition to its new Pluto technology for silicon solar cells, along with debt financing rrequirements.
Under the agreement the New York Stock Exchange listed company can draw down the loan after meeting certain conditions that it says it will satisfy with 30 days. Suntech has regional headquarters in Wuxi, China, Switzerland and San Francisco.
The seven-year loan has a fixed-rate coupon of 5 percent per year payable twice a year on June 15 and December 15. If it is converted to a variable-rate loan, the conversion price is $18.00 per American depositary share, which was set at a premium over the average trading price during a span of 20 trading days immediately prior to IFC's notice that it had approved the loan.
"These additional funds will strengthen Suntech's financial position and support our transition to the high efficiency Pluto technology as we progress towards our goal of providing grid parity solar solutions," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Chairman and CEO.
Randall Riopelle, manager of IFC's Global Manufacturing & Services Department, said Suntech is "focused on developing best in class technology and has demonstrated a firm commitment to the highest corporate responsibility standards. We look forward to working with Suntech as solar energy becomes an increasingly important source of renewable energy for China and for the world."
As a unit of the World Bank, IFC's mission is to "create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives" by fostering sustainable economic growth in developing countries through the support of private sector development, the mobilization of private capital and by providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC's new investments in 2008 totaled $16.2 billion, a 34 percent increase over the previous year.
Suntech says it is the world's leading solar energy company as measured by production output of cyrstalline silicone solar modules. It designs, develops, manufactures, and markets solar products for electric power applications in the residential, commercial, industrial, and public utility sectors. The company says its patent-pending Pluto technology for crystalline silicon solar cells will improve power output by up to 12 percent compared to conventional production methods.
Suntech also designs and delivers commercial and utility scale solar power systems through its wholly owned subsidiary Suntech Energy Engineering. In addition, it will own and operate projects greater than 10 megawatts in the U.S. through Gemini Solar Development Company, a joint venture with Renewable Ventures, a Fotowatio company.
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