China Industry: January 17

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Jan. 17 – This is a regular series of relevant industry news from around China.

Air transport

  • Shandong Airlines and U.S. aircraft-maker Boeing struck an agreement last Monday for 15 737-800 passenger planes, Xinhua News Agency reported. The list price of the aircraft is approximately US$1.35 billion.
  • The airline’s chairman, Zhang Xingfu, said that Shandong Airlines will take delivery of the aircraft during the next five years. The carrier targets to run a fleet of 100 planes within five years, compared with 48 passenger jets currently.

  • Hainan Airlines is in talks to buy 10 A350 planes as well as several A330s from Airbus, a unit of EADS, French daily La Tribune reported on January 10, citing unnamed sources at the aircraft-maker.
  • At end-December, China Eastern Airlines ordered 50 A320 planes. Although China is developing a rival model to Airbus’s A320, the French aircraft-maker expects that it will continue to increase its exports to the country in the next years.

  • UAE-based Etihad Airways said last week it plans to increase its flight frequency on some of its European routes as well as on its Beijing and Bangalore services in 2011.
  • The company will move from five flights a week to daily flights on its Beijing route and from four weekly to daily flights on its Bangalore service. Between June and August, Etihad will also boost the number of flights on its routes to Paris, Manchester, Geneva, Milan and Brussels.

  • China Southern Airlines said last Tuesday in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange that it expects net profit for 2010 to increase about 15 times on an annual basis. The company registered a net profit of US$54.1 million in 2009.
  • Shenzhen Airlines, majority-owned by Air China, will start flying between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and Wuxi in China’s Jiangsu Province, Kyodo News reported.
  • The company will operate the service between January 21 and March 26 and will fly on it four times per week using Boeing 737 aircraft.

  • Taiwan’s Far Eastern Air Transport Corp has been given the green light by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) to restart operations, the Taipei Times reported recently. The airline grounded its flights in May 2008 because of financial problems and employee wage disputes.
  • Yin Chen-pong, CAA director-general, said that Far Eastern Air may resume flights during the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on February 2. The CAA will continue to closely monitor the airline, carrying out further examinations.

  • Hong Kong International Airport said on Thursday that Indonesian budget air carrier Mandala Airlines is suspending all flight operations at the airport. The airline, which started flying from HKIA on July 19, 2010, operated four weekly flights from Hong Kong to Jakarta every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
  • Air China said last week in a bourse filing that it expects its net profit for 2010 to rise more than 200 percent on an annual basis. The airline booked a net profit of US$762 million in 2009.
  • Air China said that its net profit for 2010 was boosted by the growth of China’s economy, the recovery of the global economy, and the increase of its ownership in Shenzhen Airlines.

    Solar power

  • Taiwanese solar cell manufacturer Motech Industries and U.S. nanomaterials company Innovalight Inc have signed a deal to develop solar cells using the latter’s silicon ink technology.
  • Innovalight manufactures a proprietary silicon ink comprised of silicon nano-particles dispersed in an environmentally friendly blend of chemicals and licenses a platform process that can be retrofitted on existing solar cell manufacturing lines. By adding a single silicon ink screen printing step to a conventional cell manufacturing line, solar cells can be produced with higher conversion efficiency at lower cost per watt, Innovalight says.

    Motech manufactures and markets mono- and multicrystalline silicon solar cells. In the third quarter of 2010, the company reached a gigawatt in production capacity, making it the largest cell manufacturer in Taiwan.

    California-based Innovalight has previously signed cooperative agreements with Chinese cell manufacturers JA Solar, Yingli Solar, Solarfun, and JinkoSolar.

  • Chinese solar firm CNPV Solar Power said on January 10 it has wrapped up a 7 megawatt utility-scale solar power plant in eastern China’s Shandong Province. The plant utilizes CNPV’s high-efficiency premium modules and can produce enough electricity to supply 8,000 households and save 8,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, CNPV said.
  • The facility, whose cost is estimated at US$25 million, is part of China’s National Golden Sun Demonstration Project aimed at promoting the development of the country’s photovoltaic industry. This is the biggest utility-scale grid-connected solar project in the province, according to CNPV.

  • Norwegian multi-industry group Orkla ASA said last Tuesday it has agreed to sell its metals and material unit Elkem to special chemicals company China National Bluestar Group for US$2 billion. The deal covers the divisions Elkem Silicon Materials, Elkem Foundry Products, Elkem Carbon and Elkem Solar.
  • Orkla will keep the shares in Elkem Energi AS, including the 85 percent stake in AS Saudefaldene. The purchase price for the shares will be paid in cash and represents an enterprise value to Orkla of some US$2.1 billion.

    The transaction is in line with Orkla’s strategy to focus on branded consumer goods and aluminum solutions, while reducing its exposure to the solar industry, CEO Bjorn M Wiggen said.

    Bluestar is a China-based international chemicals and new materials company. It is 80 percent-owned by Chinese state-owned company ChemChina, with the remaining 20 percent controlled by U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group.

    Completion of the sale is pending clearance from the relevant competition authorities and from the Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in China. The purchase has already been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission of China. The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has to give the necessary consents to the transfer of Elkem Energi to Orkla and to the establishment of a new power contract between Elkem and Saudefaldene.

    The transaction is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2011.

  • Solar power company China Gogreen Assets Investment Ltd said last week it has agreed to acquire a 99 percent stake in sector firm GS-Solar (Qinghai) for US$891,000 in a drive to expand its operations.
  • At present, GS-Solar is working on a 10-megawatt thin-film solar photovoltaic project in Geermu, Qinghai Province, worth some US$27 million. It will be financed through a shareholder loan, bank credit or equity. The development has been given the go-ahead by the Development and Reform Commission of Qinghai Province.

    GS-Solar reported an after-tax loss of US$140,000 for 2010, compared to a loss of US$132,000 a year earlier.

  • Solar cell component-maker Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co Ltd announced on Thursday that its board agreed to pour US$545 million into the development of a solar power plant in eastern China.
  • The facility will be located in the city of Yanshi in Henan Province. It will have a capacity of 800 megawatts and will be built in four phases. Construction work is set to start in June this year and be completed by June 2016.

    Wind power

  • China Windpower Group said last Monday it had generated nearly 1.126 million MWh of power in 2010, up 194 percent on the year. Last year, the company launched nine wind power projects with a combined capacity of 597 megawatts. At the end of December it had 1,163 megawatts of operating capacity at 21 wind farms.
  • China Windpower also got the green light to install 900 megawatts of wind power capacity at 13 sites. It registered five projects with the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto protocol. The wind-farm operator’s facilities saved 1.15 million tons of carbon dioxide and 11,444 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions in 2010.

  • U.S. power tech firm American Superconductor Corp on Tuesday said it has licensed a number of wind turbine designs to Chinese wind power equipment firm Beijing Jingcheng New Energy Co.
  • JCNE, which is a unit of state-owned Beijing Jingcheng Machinery Electric Holding Co, has received licenses to produce, market and sell AMSC’s patented Windtec 2 megawatt, 3 megawatt and 5 megawatt full-conversion wind turbine models and a 3 megawatt SuperGear wind turbine model in return for the payment of upfront license fees. Under the agreement, JCNE will also buy electrical control systems and main electrical components for each of the turbines exclusively from AMSC.

    JCNE expects to start manufacturing the 2 megawatt and 3 megawatt Windtec turbines this year and the other turbines in the following years, according to AMSC.

    AMSC said JCNE is its sixth Chinese wind turbine-making customer, adding that the Chinese wind power market remains a main target as its robust growth is seen to continue in the next 10 years or more.

  • Hong Kong-based Renewable Energy Asia Group, or REA, said on Thursday it will build a 49.5-megawatt wind power facility in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province in cooperation with China Datang Corp Renewable Power. The company has won a concession for the project from the city of Haimen.
  • Investment in the project will be around US$ 76 million, with 80 percent to come from bank loans. REA will hold a 49 percent interest in the facility, while the rest will be in the hands of China Datang. Land and infrastructure will be provided by the Jiangsu government.

    Construction is to start in the second quarter of 2011. REA has already secured three other concessions for wind farm projects in the provinces of Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Jilin. The company and Datang own a 49.5-megawatt facility in Huaishuo, Inner Mongolia.

    This industry report brief is courtesy of Aii Data Processing.