Government loan to the rescue for Suntech Power

Chinese company has large plant in Goodyear, Ariz.

Struggling amidst a severe downturn of orders for photovoltaic solar panels, China’s behemoth solar panel maker, Suntech Power Holdings (STP) was given a $32 million lifeline on Friday.

Gov. Jan Brewer welcomed Suntech to Goodyear in 2010.

The loan comes from the government of Wuxi city in East China’s Jiangsu province. Zhu Kejiang, the mayor of the city, went to Suntech with a finance offer from a consortium of several banks, including Bank of China, on Thursday, aimed at helping it weather its financial difficulties, local media reported on Saturday.

According to reports from China Business News on Friday, Suntech has about 1 billion-yuan in short-term debts due by the end of the year. In the first quarter of this year, its debts totaled $1.79 billion. The company was unavailable for immediate comment late Saturday, however, to confirm the reports.

The lenders are granting short-term bridge loans to help service its debt, and stop shedding jobs. Suntech is the world’s largest maker of solar panels.

China’s photovoltaic industry has had an awful year thanks to U.S. anti-dumping charges and protectionism, and European cutbacks on green energy spending. Suntech reduced its production plan for the fourth quarter and last week they announced they would cut 1,500 workers from the labor force nationwide, something the Chinese government has frowned upon given the ongoing economic downturn.

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