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Published: Saturday, 10/27/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Solar panelmaker Xunlight selling its Chinese holdings, aims for profit in 2013

BY KRIS TURNER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Xunlight Corp. is selling its Chinese holdings and is wrapping up a yearlong process of restructuring its finances, a top executive from the Toledo company announced Friday.

The flexible solar-panel manufacturer has been working to make its company profitable since the exit of its founder and former chief executive officer, Xunming Deng, in March. Although the company has not reached that mark, it is on track to make money in the coming year, said Dennis Kebrdle, the company’s chief transition officer.

Mr. Kebrdle did not disclose the price of the Chinese deal, and said that Mr. Deng is part of the group that is buying that venture. The sale was part of an overall process to streamline Xunlight’s operations, which included converting company debt into equity. Xunlight also received additional financing in the form of private loans and investments, he said.

Xunlight’s financial progress has allowed the company to expand by about 30 employees in the past couple months. The company has about 70 people on its payroll, and most jobs pay about $600 a week, Mr. Kebrdle said.

“We’re not completely done with [the Chinese deal], but we are close. As part of our arrangement with Dr. Deng, he’s going to take Xunlight Asia and develop that. We had a joint venture there, and we’ve sold that,” Mr. Kebrdle said.

Mr. Deng did not return a call seeking comment.

Xunlight was born from research conducted at the University of Toledo, where Mr. Deng was a professor. He resigned his positions as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board in March.

At the time, he said he would remain chairman of Xunlight Kunshan, which operates a plant in Kunshan, China.

None of the funding the company received from the state of Ohio was used to finance the company’s Chinese holdings, Mr. Kebrdle said.

The company received loans of $4 million from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and $4 million from the Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund.

Also, the Ohio Department of Development awarded the company a job-creation tax credit of 55 percent for seven years, $291,500 for two work-training grants, and three Ohio Third Frontier grants in the amount of $6,969,848.

The company is in good standing with the state, officials said.

Xunlight’s former Asian facility will buy supplies and machinery from Xunlight’s Toledo operation. That deal will expand the Xunlight brand across Asian markets, Mr. Kebrdle said.

“It’s natural because we’re already there,” he said.

Xunlight has deals in the works in Brazil, Japan, and elsewhere, Mr. Kebrdle said. Xunlight acquired a large contract from Energizer for solar-powered lanterns earlier this year, and things have moved along nicely with that, Mr. Kebrdle said.

Contact Kris Turner at: kturner@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.



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