Press Releases (03/02/12) Oerlikon to divest Solar Segment to Tokyo Electron

  • Strategic move for portfolio discipline to continue profitable growth
  • Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) has been a strategic partner to Oerlikon Solar since 2009 and will expand its solar business significantly
  • Customer commitments and service levels secured

Pfäffikon SZ (Switzerland), March 2, 2012. The Oerlikon Group has today agreed the terms of a divestment of its Solar Segment to a leading global supplier of semiconductor production equipment, Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) of Japan. The sale is a strategic move for Oerlikon to further focus its portfolio and enable management to develop the larger, high performing businesses in the Group, in order to continue profitable growth. The transaction is structured to secure our customers and to maintain service levels at the highest standards.

After significant operational and cost structure improvements over the last two years, Oerlikon Solar will now be divested. Dr Michael Buscher, CEO of Oerlikon Group, 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 critical mass, strong market positions 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."

Hiroshi Takenaka, President & CEO of TEL comments: "Oerlikon Solar has a long track record in thin film deposition technologies for photovoltaic module 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."

Oerlikon Solar is headquartered in Trübbach, 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.

Tokyo Electron Limited is a leading global supplier of semiconductor production equipment, engaged in the development, manufacturing, and sales to a wide range of product fields. The company also leverages specialized technologies developed for the semiconductor production equipment market to engage in the area of flat panel display (FPD) production equipment.

The sale remains subject to merger control approvals in a number of countries. It is expected to be concluded over a period of several months. Oerlikon will provide guidance of the financial implications of this transaction within its announcement of the 2011 results on Monday, 5 March 2012.

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