Yingli announces fund to invest in Chinese solar projects

Solar-panel maker hopes to become a solar developer as well

Yingli Green Holding Co. said Wednesday it has created a fund in partnership with a Chinese private-equity firm to invest in solar projects in China, taking a step toward becoming a solar developer.


The plan is to invest about $160 million, with the solar-panel manufacturer holding a 51% stake of the partnership with Shanghai Sailing Capital Management Co. Ltd.

U.S.-listed shares of Yingli YGE -0.71% rose 1.3% on Wednesday, outpacing competitors.

The company said it will contribute to the fund's capital in several installments, without specifying a timeline. The fund is expected to primarily invest in Yingli's projects, and both parties will take "an active role" in managing it, Yingli said.

The fund will accelerate Yingli's footprint in solar projects, the company said.

"As a long-term strategic repositioning, this cooperation is a solid step towards our transition from a PV manufacturer to a renewable energy solutions provider," Bryan Li, executive director and chief strategy officer, said in a statement.

Yingli last week warned investors it would ship fewer solar-panel modules in the first quarter than what it expected, blaming in on seasonality and project delays in Algeria. It kept its full-year shipment guidance intact at 4 gigawatts to 4.1 GW.

That was followed by a similar warning by Trina Solar Ltd. TSL -0.75% , which has led to recent losses in the sector.

A worker stands on top of the entrance to the Yingli Solar factory.

Most China-based solar-panel manufacturers were mixed on Wednesday. U.S.-listed shares of Trina advanced 0.8%, while U.S.-listed shares of JinkoSolar Holding Co. JKS -0.40% were flat. U.S.-listed shares of JA Solar Holdings Co. JASO -0.10% were off 2.1%.

Shares of U.S. based solar-panel manufacturer and developer First Solar Inc. declined 1.2%.

Meanwhile, solar installer SolarCity Corp. SCTY -1.09% rose 1.1%. Shares of SunEdison Inc. SUNE -0.97% advanced 0.1%, while shares of SunPower Corp. SPWR +0.11% were down 1.5%.

The broader U.S. equity market gained on Wednesday, lifted by an upbeat report on industrial production and earnings that beat expectations for Yahoo Inc. YHOO -1.13%

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