Hanwha Solutions is doubling down on its investment in the solar power business in an effort to grasp a clear technological lead over Chinese competitors.
The company said it had raised the amount of a rights offering scheduled to be completed in March from 1.2 trillion won ($108 million) to 1.41 trillion won, as its expected issue price had risen from 38,200 won apiece to 44,900 won.
About 1.1 trillion won of the total proceeds will be used for solar investment, mostly in 2021 and 2022, with 400 billion for the development and production of a next-generation module, 400 billion won to buy a solar power plant and enhance its development capability and the remainder for distributed generation-based energy.
Hanwha Solutions’ solar power division has grown rapidly, with revenue, operating income and assets in 2019 exceeding those of its chemical division, which has been a long-time cash cow for the group. Revenue amounted to 4.7 trillion won in the first nine months of 2020, accounting for more than 70% of the company’s revenue, and its operating income reached 188.1 billion won, up 28% compared with the previous year.
The company has a dominant position in residential and commercial solar power modules in the U.S. market and is highly recognized in European markets.
It is in a good position to capitalize on the high growth potential of solar power. Wood Mackenzie said the global solar market had grown 5% in 2020 from a year earlier and expected it to expand with a compound annual growth rate of 8% in 2021 and 2022.
However, market insiders noted that the company’s core business, manufacturing and selling solar power modules, was labor intensive and very competitive. The rivalry with Chinese firms is also intensifying due to low barriers to foreign entry.
Industry observers said companies that have competitive costs and high levels of efficiency will have the edge in the solar power industry. (Reporting by Eun-ah Cho)