Meyer Burger sells solar cell division and will focus on its SmartWire module connections

Meyer Burger Technology announced it will sell its photovoltaic and specialized materials (semiconductor and sapphire glass industries) wafering equipment and service business to Precision Surfacing Solutions (PSS) (formerly Lapmaster Wolters), a global supplier of equipment and services for surface enhancement technology. As part of the transaction, significant parts of Meyer Burger’s current production facilities in Thun, Switzerland, as well as around 100 employees involved in the wafering technology portfolio in Thun and the relevant service locations worldwide will also be transferred to PSS. Completion of the contract is subject to standard closing conditions. The closing of the transaction is expected to be completed toward the end of the first quarter of 2019. The agreed purchase price is CHF 50 million in cash, which represents approximately one times net sales of the wafering equipment business. The contract also includes an earn-out component based on certain revenue levels in 2019. Both Meyer Burger and PSS view the transaction as an important strategic milestone, which will further strengthen two global technology leaders.

Solar panel manufacturers REC and SolarTech Universal in Florida use Meyer Burger’s SmartWire Connection Technology on silicon wafers.

“Although Meyer Burger grew from its roots in the wafering industry, our main focus today is on PV cell coating and module connection technologies,” said Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger. “As the new owner of our wafering portfolio and with its presence in the semiconductor industry, PSS is ideally positioned to fully maximize the synergies with our wafering technologies. I am very pleased that with PSS as the new owner, we have found a solution that is advantageous for both parties while at the same time securing both jobs and technology know-how in Thun.”

PSS intends to use the know-how of Meyer Burger’s local workforce and to continue product development as well as manufacturing activities in non-PV wafering applications in Thun, where it has entered into a long-term rental agreement with Meyer Burger. Production activities for photovoltaic wafering will remain in China. PSS will further maintain global service support for all current and future wafering customers worldwide. PSS will take over around 70 employees at its Thun location and around an additional 30 globally. The Thun manufacturing location, which is owned by Meyer Burger, is now fully occupied and includes long-term leasing contracts with Precision Surfacing Solutions as well as with 3S Solar Plus AG.

Meyer Burger will further concentrate its strategic focus on the existing cell/module technologies business, especially its successful Heterojunction and SmartWire Connection Technology, and on promising next generation cell/module technologies.

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