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Electronics Production | December 11, 2009

Soitec buys Concentrix for 55 MEUR

France based Soitec Group, supplier of engineered substrates for the microelectronics industry, has signed an agreement to acquire privately held Concentrix Solar GmbH.
Concentrix is a provider of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar systems. With this acquisition, and in line with its strategy, Soitec is entering the fast-growing solar industry; capturing value through the system level; and expanding its revenue base as worldwide demand for CPV systems is anticipated to ramp up strongly in the coming years.

Soitec's technologies in engineered substrates are key to improving solar cell performance and therefore strongly complement Concentrix's expertise in high-efficiency CPV systems for solar power plants. This combination is set to deliver a competitive value proposition to satisfy the growing needs of renewable energy. Additionally, the transaction includes access to the high-efficiency concentrator solar cell technologies from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE ( Fraunhofer ISE). Simultaneously, Soitec has signed a strategic technology alliance with both the Fraunhofer ISE and the CEA-Leti.

Based in Freiburg, Germany, Concentrix was founded in 2005 as a spin-off company of the Fraunhofer ISE. Soitec has acquired circa 80 percent of the shares, valuing 100 percent of Concentrix at EUR 55 million. The remaining 20 percent of the shares continue to be owned by the Fraunhofer ISE and the company's founders and senior management. Upon closing of the transaction, Concentrix will retain its staff and will operate within a new photovoltaic business unit of the Soitec Group, which is expected to be significantly accretive to the total Soitec Group's growth.

CPV is a promising technology in a rapidly expanding global market for solar energy, offering a breakthrough and competitive solution for large power plants in high irradiation countries. Concentrix's patented solution, which is proven in various power plants and demo installations in Spain, Italy, Korea and the United States, concentrates sunlight onto a small area of high-efficiency solar cells, reducing the need for costly materials and increasing system efficiency.

As part of the transaction, the Fraunhofer ISE, the largest solar energy research institute in Europe with more than 20 years of experience in III-V solar cell development, has entered into a long term license agreement with Soitec regarding the know-how and technology related to the manufacturing of concentrator cells. Both partners are going to develop the next generation of very high efficiency CPV solar cells based on Soitec's proprietary technologies, strongly to boost CPV system performance. The collaboration includes CEA-Leti, Soitec's long-time partner within the Grenoble R&D cluster.

The transaction values 100 percent of Concentrix at EUR 55 million with an earn out option based on sales growth performance in 2010.

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