China solar giant Suntech falls back to Earth
SHANGHAI (AFP) - China's Suntech has made a painful journey from being the world's largest solar panel producer to flirting with bankruptcy in just a year, highlighting the woes of the industry it shaped.
Oversupply as Chinese producers flooded the market and trade disputes over alleged Chinese dumping caused a sudden and spectacular reversal of fortunes for Suntech, which has defaulted on repayments for a US$541 million (S$677 million) bond issue.
The board ousted the company's renowned founder just days ago after 12 years in which he led it from nothing to world market domination and now to the edge of ruin, leaving it scrambling to secure new funding and hold creditors at bay.
The global solar industry has been burned by the economic slowdown in Europe and the United States, together with weak prices blamed on Chinese companies which sought to build market share by under-cutting competitors.