WACKER and SCHOTT set up joint venture to produce solar wafers
Munich / Mainz (euro adhoc) -
Joint Press Release by WACKER and SCHOTT - SCHOTT WACKER Solar to produce multicrystalline silicon wafers for solar cells - 370 million investment to create at least 700 new jobs - Production start-up in 2007 - Capacity expansion phased to reach 1 gigawatt per year by 2012
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August 2nd, 2007 - Wacker Chemie AG and SCHOTT Solar, a 100 percent subsidiary of the worldwide SCHOTT group, plan to set up two joint ventures to produce and market silicon wafers for solar applications. WACKER and SCHOTT signed a related agreement today. Over the next years, the two partners plan to invest a total of EUR370 million in facilities in Jena (Thuringia) and Alzenau (Bavaria), creating at least 700 new jobs at these German sites. The project is subject to approval by the German and European authorities. The joint venture - SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH - is scheduled to start operations this year. It will produce multicrystalline silicon ingots and wafers, the starting material for solar cells. Solar-wafer production capacity is set to expand in stages, reaching about one gigawatt/year by 2012. This will make the joint venture one of the world´s five largest solar-wafer manufacturers.
Dr. Peter-Alexander Wacker, Wacker Chemie AG´s president & CEO, emphasized the joint venture´s importance for his company. "WACKER is the world's second-largest supplier of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon and a pioneer in the manufacture of solar-grade polysilicon. Our forward integration - with a strong partner - into solar-wafer production is vital to our strategy of creating corporate value in this growth sector. The recently announced expansions of our polysilicon production capacity to more than 22,000 metric tons per year ensure the joint venture´s starting material supply."
Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, president & CEO of SCHOTT, stated that he was extremely pleased about the new joint venture. "Given polysilicon´s actual global scarcity, a reliable supply of this raw material is essential to SCHOTT Solar´s ambitious growth targets in the photovoltaic sector," he explained. "Combined with our current capacity expansions for solar cells and modules in Alzenau and Valasské Mezirící in the Czech Republic, the joint venture will play a decisive role in strengthening SCHOTT Solar´s position as one of the world´s leading manufacturers of solar-energy components."
WACKER will supply SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH with the hyperpure polycrystalline silicon it needs to produce wafers. The major part of the joint venture´s wafers will be used by SCHOTT Solar to make solar cells. Solar wafers, however, will also be sold to other solar-cell producers in order to capitalize on growth opportunities and related scale effects. To this end, WACKER and SCHOTT plan to establish a separate joint venture, WACKER SCHOTT Solar GmbH.
WACKER and SCHOTT each will hold a 50 percent equity stake in the production joint venture SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH, while in the sales joint venture WACKER will hold 51 percent and SCHOTT 49 percent. The production joint venture includes SCHOTT's existing facilities in Alzenau for producing solar wafers and those in Jena for producing multicrystalline silicon ingots. SCHOTT WACKER Solar plans to expand the existing production and to set up new facilities for blocking and wafering.
At its SmartSolarFab® in Alzenau, SCHOTT manufactures wafers using its advanced EFG process (Edge defined Film-fed Growth). This method differs from the conventional approach where silicon wafers are sawn from an ingot. Instead, a silicon film in the form of an octagonal hollow tube is pulled directly from the silicon melt. A laser then cuts out the wafers. The EFG process delivers several advantages. It greatly reduces material loss, for example, and features a highly efficient use of silicon.
SCHOTT in Brief SCHOTT (www.schott.com) is an international technology group that sees its core purpose as the lasting improvement of living and working conditions. For this purpose special materials, components and systems are developed. The main areas of focus are the household appliances industry, optics and opto-electronics, pharmaceuticals and solar energy. SCHOTT is one of the world´s leading manufacturers of photovoltaic components. The SCHOTT Group has a presence in proximity to its customers through its production and sales companies in all its major markets. It has approximately 16,800 employees producing worldwide sales of approximately 2.2 billion euros. The company´s technological and economic expertise is closely linked with its social and ecological responsibility.
WACKER in Brief WACKER (www.wacker.com) is a globally active chemical company headquartered in Munich. With a wide range of state-of-the-art specialty products, WACKER is a leader in numerous industrial sectors. Its products are required in many high-growth end-user sectors such as photovoltaics, electronics, pharmaceuticals and household/personal care products. The Group´s WACKER POLYSILICON business division is the world's second-largest producer of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries. In 2006, WACKER Group posted sales of some EUR3.34 billion, with approx. 80 percent being earned outside Germany. WACKER has about 14,700 employees at (currently) 22 production sites in Europe, the Americas and Asia and at some 100 sales offices worldwide. Wacker Chemie AG´s shares (ISIN: DE000WCH8881) are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
This press release contains forward-looking statements based on assumptions and estimates made by the executive boards of WACKER and SCHOTT. Although we assume the expectations in these forward-looking statements are realistic, we cannot guarantee they will prove to be correct. The assumptions may harbor risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual figures to differ considerably from the forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such discrepancies include, among other things, changes in the economic and business environment, variations in exchange and interest rates, the introduction of competing products, lack of acceptance for new products or services, and changes in corporate strategy. Neither WACKER nor SCHOTT plans to update the forward-looking statements, nor assumes the obligation to do so.
end of announcement euro adhoc 02.08.2007 12:30:18
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