In the past, a solar IPO (Initial Public Offering) was a rare event, with never more than two or three coming public in any given year. This past year, 2006, marks the beginning of a significant ramp up in solar IPO’s and more importantly, it is the beginning of serious financial resources coming into the solar industry which will allow the industry to continue its current robust growth. In fact, the 2006 solar IPO boom, really started in the last 6 weeks of 2005, when Sunpower (NASDAQ:SPWR) and Suntech (NYSE:STP) came public and are up 130% and 75% respectively since their IPO’s.
The days of the solar industry being an under funded “cottage industry” are over and with the onset of serious funding, a bright new future awaits us all.
Although once again, the photovoltaic [PV] sector has dominated the public financing arena, there have been a number of ethanol related IPO’s that have also started to trade their shares on the public markets in the U.S. Below is a break down of the PV IPO’s in terms of offerings that have been completed in 2006 and offerings that have filed (with the SEC) or rumored to go public in the very near future.
Completed 2006 IPO’s
Canadian Solar Inc (NASDAQ:CSIQ)
Canadian Solar came public in late November of 2006 at $15.00 per share, raising approximately $82MM dollars net. The company produces standard silicon panels and has a silicon recycling facility in China.
Current stock price: $9.45, market cap: $250 million
First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR)
First Solar came public in late November of 2006 at $20.00 per share, rising approximately $420 million. The company produces a “thin film” Cadmium Telluride product on a glass substrate and is the first of the next generation PV companies to come public. (Thin Film technology is what I would describe as the “next generation” of PV technology. It will NOT be subject to silicon shortages and will allow much lower cost of manufacturing.)
Current stock price: $27.72, market cap: $1.93 Billion.
Stock Symbol: [PFLM.L]. PowerFilm went public on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) exchange in London in May of 2006 at a price of 120 pence, raising approximately 16 million sterling. The company produces a thin film, amorphous silicon product on a flexible plastic substrate.
Current stock price: 204 pence, market cap: 128 million sterling
Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS.OB)
Akeena went public via a reverse merger, in August of 2006 at an initial price of $1.00 and is listed on the over the counter bulletin board. The company is one of the largest installers of PV systems in the U.S.
Current stock price: $2.05, market cap: $30 million
Stock Symbol: [SOLA.L].Renesola went public on the AIM exchange in London in August at a price of 80 pence raising approximately 50 million sterling. Renesola is a Chinese company that produces silicon wafers for the PV industry in China and around the world.
Current stock price: 470 pence, market cap: 528 million sterling+
Trina Solar is another China based PV company that produces conventional silicon PV modules. The IPO started trading on December 19th 2006 at $18.50, raising the company approximately $90 million.
Current stock price: $20.85, market cap: $420 million +
Solarfun Power Holdings (SOLF)
Solarfun is a China based PV manufacturer that produces conventional silicon PV modules from ingots. Their current capacity is approximately 50 megawatts [MW]. The IPO started trading on December 20th 2006 at $12.50, raising the company approximately $150 million.
Current stock price: $12.06, market cap: Approx. $550 million
These are PV companies that have either filed (Photowatt Technologies, Inc. and J A Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.) or others that are rumored to be moving forward toward doing a public financing in the U.S.
Photowatt Technologies, Inc.
Proposed stock symbol: PWAT. Photowatt produces conventional PV panels from poly-silicon and from recycled metallurgical grade silicon. It is partially owned by a Canadian public company, ATS Automation Tooling Systems [ATS.TO], which trades on the Toronto stock exchange. I would expect the IPO in the first or second quarter of 2007.
Proposed initial stock price: Unknown, market cap: unknown
J A Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.
Proposed stock symbol: JASO. J A Solar Holdings produces high quality mono-crystalline solar cells for other solar companies to put in their solar modules. They have a current capacity of 75 MW and hope to expand to 175MW by the end of 2007. They filed for an IPO on 1-16-2007 for 15,000,000 American Depository Shares [ADS] at $12.5 to $14.5 per ADS (these ADS’s are equal to 3 normal common shares). The company will raise a maximum of $250MM.
Proposed initial stock price: $12.50 to $14.50, Market Cap: $585MM (at mid point of range)
Proposed stock symbol: unknown. Yingli Solar is a China based PV Company that is vertically integrated (silicon ingots, to wafers, to panels, to systems) solar manufacturer with approximately a 100MW annual capacity. A number of articles have stated that Yingli plans to raise over $400 million in a NASDAQ IPO in 2007.
Proposed initial stock price: Unknown, market cap: unknown
LDK Solar Hi-Tech Co., Ltd.
Proposed stock Symbol: unknown. LDK is now the biggest multi-crystalline wafer manufacturer in Asia, the manufacturing plant located in Economic Development Zone, Xinyu, Jiangxi, P.R. China. It has a current capacity of 200MW and projected capacity of 1,000MW by 2010.
Proposed initial stock price: unknown. Market Cap: unknown
CEEG (Nanjing) PV-Tech Co., Ltd [NPV]
Proposed stock symbol: unknown. NPV was founded under the collaboration of China Electric Equipment Group [CEEG] and a team of Australian PV technology scientists in June of 2004. It is a large manufacturer of PV panels and equipment. Current capacity is stated at 192MW.
Proposed initial stock price: unknown. Market cap: unknown
Disclosure: Author has no positions in the above-mentioned stocks.