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Applied to acquire PV cell test system provider

Posted: 22 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar cell? PV cell? automated test system?

Applied Materials will acquire Italy-based supplier of automated metallization and test systems for manufacturing crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic (PV) cells Baccini S.p.A for $330 million in cash.

The integrated equipment set addresses critical processing steps in c-Si solar cell production that significantly affect solar cell efficiency and yield, while enabling the use of ultrathin silicon wafers. Combining Baccini's products and technologies with Applied's semiconductor interconnect processing expertise, manufacturing capabilities, and R&D resources will provide customers withautomated production technology for fabricating advanced c-Si solar cells.

Baccini is a privately-held company founded in 1967 and provides material handling automation capable of processing wafers less than 120?m thick, significantly thinner than those typically used in the industry. Reliable processing of ultrathin wafers is key to next-generation c-Si manufacturing because it will allow customers to minimize the use of silicon material, which now represents more than 60 percent of solar cell manufacturing cost.

"As a key supplier to both the c-Si and thin film solar markets, we are committed to driving down the cost and ramping up the scale of PV manufacturing to make solar energy competitive with grid electricity," said Mike Splinter, president and CEO of Applied.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of certain non-U.S. regulatory approvals. The parties expect to close the transaction in early 2008.

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