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29.04.2009 00:00

Sunfilm AG and Sontor GmbH merge to become one of the leading manufacturers of silicon-based thin film modules in the world

    The new company, to be known as Sunfilm AG,
  • Combines expertise in production and research & development to take a leading position in the thin film silicon sector,
  • Reaches critical size to achieve higher productivity and accelerated growth, and
  • Continues with the full support of its shareholders Q-Cells, Good Energies and NorSun


Bitterfeld-Wolfen/Grossroehrsdorf, 29 April 2009. Sunfilm AG, Grossroehrsdorf, and Sontor GmbH, Bitterfeld-Wolfen, merge to become one of the world’s largest providers of tandem junction silicon based thin film modules. The new company will be named Sunfilm AG. In an increasingly competitive global photovoltaic market, Sunfilm will have the necessary size and expertise to significantly profit from the growing segment of thin film solar. Q-Cells SE, Good Energies and NorSun AS will be the shareholders of the new Sunfilm and are firmly committed to supporting the company on its future growth path.  

Sontor and Sunfilm merge to become a leading manufacturer of silicon-based tandem junction thin film modules  

With an installed capacity of approximately 85 megawatts peak (MWp) at the two current production sites in Bitterfeld-Wolfen and Grossroehrsdorf, plus an additional 60MWp of capacity under construction in Grossroehrsdorf, Sunfilm is already one of the world’s largest manufacturers of tandem junction silicon-based thin film modules. “Thin film is one of the most significant growth areas within the photovoltaic industry. After the merger, the new Sunfilm will participate significantly in this growth and we will establish our company as both a driving force in the market and as a technology leader”, says Wolfgang Heinze, Chief Operating Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board of Sunfilm AG.  

Economies of scale and synergies add to future growth  

Sunfilm’s size and market position will enable the company to create a competitive advantage through economies of scale, despite facing an increasingly crowded market. In addition, Sunfilm can achieve a variety of cost savings, including those from synergies in purchasing and those from consolidation of overlapping segments. The combined expertise in research and development forms an additional clear competitive advantage. As a result, Sunfilm can accelerate the further development of thin film technology and reduce production costs for solar energy in the midterm. “Sunfilm will take a top position in research and development and will significantly advance the technology of solar modules with an even higher performance”, according to Dr. Torsten Brammer, Chief Scientist and member of the Executive Board of the new Sunfilm. 

Current shareholders continue to support new company 

Q-Cells, the sole owner of Sontor, will hold 50 percent of the new Sunfilm shares. Q-Cells is a leader within the global photovoltaic industry and is the world’s largest producer of solar cells. “The new Sunfilm forms a central pillar in Q-Cells’ global strategy for thin film technologies”, says Dr. Florian Holzapfel, Board Member of Q-Cells, responsible for New Technologies. “This powerful merger will create even more growth momentum in this thin film sector.”

Good Energies, a leading global investor in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, as well as NorSun AS, a Norwegian manufacturer of high performance monocrystalline silicon wafers, will also remain invested in Sunfilm and support the future growth of the new company. Good Energies will hold about 35 percent of the new company and about 15 percent will be owned by NorSun. “We believe the merger is the best way to capitalize on the enormous potential of tandem junction thin film technology and to establish a leading company in the market”, explains Dr. Sven Hansen, Chief Investment Officer of Good Energies and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sunfilm.  

 

Strengthening of Germany as a centre of Photovoltaics 

The new Sunfilm AG will have production sites in Grossroehrsdorf and Bitterfeld-Wolfen, while the centre for research and development will be located in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. The new company now has approximately 400 employees, but additional jobs will be created in the midterm as the expansion in Grossroehrsdorf comes on-line. The merger of the two companies is expected to become legally effective by the end of May 2009, but is still subject to approval by the competent antitrust agencies.