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Bosch boosts photovoltaics biz

Posted: 05 Aug 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar cell? photovoltaics? thin-film module?

Bosch group is beefing up its photovoltaics activities with the acquisition of two companies involved module manufacturing including copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film modules.

The automotive and industrial electronics giant has bought a minority position of almost 40 percent of Aleo Solar AG's shares for ?46 million (about $65.7 million). Bosch issued a tender offer to the shareholders, offering ?9 (about $12.67), which is 43 percent above Aleo's average share price of the past three months. Bosch plans to acquire at least 75 percent of Aleo's shares.

At the same time, Bosch has also taken over more than 60 percent of Johanna Solar AG. Aleo in turn holds about 17 percent in Johanna Solar, a manufacturer of CIGS, a non-silicon material for thin-film solar cells. Johanna's modules are sold via Aleo.

Bosch already holds the majority of solar cell manufacturer Ersol AG. A company spokesperson explained the two companies acquired now are active in different places of the value chain than Ersol. While Ersol produces silicon-based solar cells and thin-film solar cells based on silicon, Johanna complements these activities by manufacturing CIGS-based cells. Aleo is active further down the value chain in that it assembles the solar cells into modules. "Thus, we cover the entire value chain from ingots to modules," the spokesperson said.

Another motive for the Aleo takeover is that the company disposes of a far-flung sales network across Europe. "It has a well-established position in retail sales and among system integrators," the spokesperson said. The move also enables Bosch to expand its product spectrum, he added.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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