Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) today announced that it has concluded an agreement for the transfer of Oerlikon Solar (Headquarters: Switzerland; CEO: Helmut Frankenberger) stock with OC Oerlikon Corporation AG (Headquarters: Switzerland; CEO: Dr. Michael Buscher). Oerlikon Solar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of OC Oerlikon.
TEL has carried out the sale and marketing of end-to-end production lines for thin film silicon solar modules since 2009 as an exclusive representative for Oerlikon Solar in the Asia and Oceania regions. This acquisition will enable TEL to integrate the excellent technological strength of Oerlikon Solar —which will both improve conversion efficiency and reduce production costs—with the field service capability and production equipment technologies developed by TEL. TEL has judged that it will be able to create synergetic effects through a brand new framework in this way.
In the field of photovoltaic power generation, grid parity* is approaching reality. It is expected that the need for thin film solar modules, which offer competitive power in the realm of cost and make it possible to obtain a large amount of actual electric power generation widely available on earth, will grow in the future.
Based on its conviction regarding efforts to resolve environmental issues through technology, TEL intends to enhance photovoltaic cell production equipment as the third core of its business, following semiconductor and FPD production equipment. TEL will take the opportunity of this acquisition to further accelerate these efforts.
This acquisition will be finalized with the acquisition of shares after the completion of various procedures, such as administrative authorization, and upon the adjustment of details relating to the transfer of said shares. TEL is also currently investigating the acquisition’s impacts on the company’s consolidated financial results, and will disclose them at an opportune time if any effects will be had on financial forecasts.
Hiroshi Takenaka, President & CEO of TEL, comments:“Oerlikon Solar has a long track record in thin film deposition technologies for photovoltaic cell production equipment, as well as end-to-end production lines of the highest standard in the world. Over the past three years, we have confirmed Oerlikon Solar’s technological strength through our activities as a sales representative in the Asia and Oceania regions. TEL will take this opportunity to combine Oerlikon Solar’s expertise and TEL’s own semiconductor production equipment technologies that we have developed over many years to further improve performance. The establishment of operations in the photovoltaic power generation business, that is anticipated to demonstrate continued development in the future, is one part of TEL’s growth strategies, and we are also confident that we can contribute to the mitigation of global environmental issues in our role as a production equipment manufacturer.”
Dr. Michael Buscher, CEO of OC Oerlikon, comments: “This divestment is an important part of our strategy to streamline and balance the Group portfolio. TEL is an ideal strategic buyer for our solar business. Its main operations are close to the predominantly Asian customer base and having had a partnership with them for three years, they know our solar segment well. The sale will give us the opportunity to focus on our high performing businesses, where we have greater critical mass and the potential to grow even further with increased profitability. We are convinced that this step is also the best solution for our employees as TEL is a strategic buyer aiming to develop a core solar business.”
* The cost of renewal energy becomes equivalent to the price of electricity from the grid.
Oerlikon Solar is headquartered in Trubbach, Switzerland, employing 675 people in 8 locations worldwide. It offers field proven equipment and turnkey manufacturing lines for the mass production of thin film silicon solar modules. Oerlikon Solar is an established player in the thin film solar equipment sector, with 870 MWp of contracted capacity and 15 customers in production in seven countries with more than 5 million modules produced through its equipment. In 2010, the segment achieved sales of CHF 254 million. Oerlikon Solar has realized significant R&D achievements since 2009. Its latest end-to-end production line (2nd generation ThinFabTM) resets the standard for manufacturing sustainable solar modules at low cost and high quality. The new design enables reduction of capital expenditure (Capex) to just $ 1/Wp, which is more than 60% reduction on 2009 Capex levels. The production line enables customers to produce high-quality thin film silicon modules for costs of around $ 0.5/Wp (€ 0.35/Wp), reflecting also a continuous strong reduction over the last years.