Wed, Nov 15, 2006 - Page 12 News List

E-ton Solar Tech raises US$100m through issuance


E-ton Solar Tech Co (益通光能), the nation's second-largest solar cell maker, said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday that it had raised US$100 million for capacity expansion by issuing overseas convertible bonds.

The conversion price for the zero-coupon bond due in 2011 was NT$745 (US$22.76), rep-resenting a premium of 25 percent over E-ton's closing price of NT$596 on Monday, the company said in the statement.

With strong growth momentum in the solar cell industry, the bond was oversubscribed six times, it added.

Shares of E-ton shed 0.84 percent to close at NT$591 on the over-the-counter GRETAI Securities Market.

E-ton had planned to raise the capital by issuing global depositary receipts (GDRs), but canceled that plan in August, as investors were concerned about the rapid rally in E-ton's market price, which was around NT$642 at the time.

The convertible bond can be called after the first 18 months, subject to a 130 percent hurdle. Redemption price and put price are set at par, and there will be no return for investors who do not convert the bonds into equity, E-ton said in the statement.

The issuance will not greatly increase the firm's capital size as the bonds account for merely 9.84 percent of all shares, E-ton said.

The capital raised will be used to construct new plants and purchase equipment and raw materials to meet the company's capacity expansion goals, according to the statement.

Having signed a deal at the end of last month to source 1,200 megawatts (MW) of silicon wafer from Japan-based M. Setek Co over the next 10 years, E-ton plans to double its annual capacity to 200MW from the 100MW targeted for this year, and to further increase capacity to 300MW in 2008.

E-ton reported pre-tax earnings of NT$90.04 million, or NT$2.24 per share, on sales of NT$371.54 million, it said in a filing to the stock exchange yesterday. For the first 10 months of the year, sales jumped 212.79 percent to NT$2.57 billion, it said.

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