Meyer Burger (MBTN.S) the 6th largest supplier of solar equipment in the world jumped up 2 places by acquiring the 7th largest global solar equipment manufacturer Roth & Rau of Germany for a little over $500 million.German Solar Companies have benefited from its domestic market being the largest solar market in the world giving birth to top solar companies like Q-Cells,Solarworld,SMA Solar.The combined company will have revenues of over $900 million overtaking another Germany Solar company Centrotherm with $825 million in revs.Note Applied Materials continues to be the market leader in the solar equipment market with $1.5 billion in solar equipment revenues just like it is the leader in the semiconductor equipment market.Note while European solar module producers have seen their marketshare and revenues crumbling in the face of the Chinese onslaught , there domination of the solar equipment continues. European Solar Companies had found things going tough in 2009 as the solar market changed radically with the Lehman crisis.As the prices of the raw material Polysilicon crashed and Chinese competition increased,these companies started bleeding red ink in a prodigious manner.The high cost structure of these companies with factories in Europe stood naked against the competition.With high debt loads,there was a high chance that these companies would go bankrupt.Most of them like Q-Cells,REC started to move manufacturing to Asia while Solarworld moved to Europe.
In contrast to the waning fortunes of the Solar Panels companies,the rise of the Asians has massively benefited the Solar Equipment Companies of Europe who have enjoyed huge sales and orders as Chinese companies add massive gigawatt scale wafer,cell and solar panel capacities.Note Meyer Burger revenues in 2010 rose more than 90% year on year and profits tripled on the back of Solar Demand in 2010 increasing by more than 150%.The acquisition fills in significant gaps in Meyer Burgers c-Si cell processing capabilities having already made several strategic acquisitions in recent years to bolster its equipment product offerings downstream into module manufacturing and certain other manufacturing equipment areas.The continuing growth of the solar market ( around $70 billion annual revenues) has made solar panel producers heavily invest in solar manufacturing equipment which is made mainly by European and American companies.
Roth & Rau AG rose above the takeover price in Meyer Burger Technology AG’s 357 million-euro ($516 million) agreed bid to combine their solar-equipment units as photovoltaic panel sales are set to surge this year.
Hohenstein-based Roth & Rau, which makes gear to produce solar cells for panels, agreed to a 22 euros-a-share bid by Meyer Burger, the Swiss company said in a statement. Meyer Burger has acquired an 11.3 percent stake from key shareholders. Roth & Rau rose as much as 15 percent to 22.70 euros in Germany.
The companies aim to consolidate their business units that make photovoltaic products, Pauli said in the statement. “This is just another step to sustainably reduce the costs of solar power,” Pauli said.
Meyer Burger, a Swiss maker of industrial cutting equipment and solar-power materials, will finance the offer from its existing cash position and through a syndicated bank loan, the company said.
Applied Materials was the clear market leader overall. Revenue from both its thin-film and crystalline silicon segments reached nearly US$1.5 billion in 2010. Ranked second for another year was centrotherm photovoltaics with revenue of US$825 million. According to the market research firm, centrotherm was the top supplier of cell and module equipment for the crystalline silicon market in 2010. It achieved this despite the cyclicality in the polysilicon business, another key market it is involved in.Another firm that continues to benefit from the growth in ingot/wafer markets was ranked third in 2010, GT Solar. The company gained from revenue of US$775 million, representing 168% growth, compared to the previous year, enabling the DSS furnace market leader to move one position higher than it reached in 2009.Meyer Burger jumped two places to be ranked sixth on the back of sales reaching US$570 million. Ulvac, the top Japanese equipment supplier in the PV industry also gained one position, moving from seventh to sixth with sales of US$380 million. German-based Roth & Rau also moved up behind Ulvac to seventh on the back of sales of US$325 million.
Companies just outside the Top 10 included Jusung Engineering, Despatch Industries, Amtech Systems, ALD Vacuum Technologies, and NPC.According to VLSI Research, 2010 was a record-breaking year, with sales of PV manufacturing equipment crossing the US$10 billion mark (US$10.4 billion) for the first time.