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Burned Again

May 21 , 2015

SUNTECH, a Chinese solar-energy pioneer, rose to become the biggest clean energy firm in the world. Its boss, Shi Zhengrong, became the richest man in China. Then, thanks to a global industry downturn and alleged financial improprieties, the firm went spectacularly bust in 2013.

Could Hanergy be the next Chinese Icarus? Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, another Chinese solar firm, shot from obscurity to become the world’s biggest clean-energy firm. As of yesterday, its shares had risen five-fold since September. This briefly made Li Hejun, its founder and owner of nearly three-quarters of its shares, China’s richest man. But on May 20th, as the firm’s annual general meeting was being held in Hong Kong, the shares plunged 47% before regulators halted trading.

What happened? The picture is unclear. It is still hard to make money in the solar business, but a number of other questions have recently been raised about Hanergy. It has been reported that regulators in Hong Kong have been taking a look at the company.

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