Thu, Sep 27, 2012 - Page 13 News List

EU anti-dumping probe to hurt solar outlook: SAS

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Local solar wafer maker Sino-American Silicon Products Inc (SAS, 中美晶) expects the EU’s anti-dumping investigation into Chinese solar companies to exacerbate the outlook of the already gloomy solar industry in the upcoming year, a company executive said yesterday.

The downbeat prospects contrasted with the optimism of local peer Green Energy Technology Inc (綠能科技), which said on Tuesday that the solar industry might see some light at the end of the tunnel next month after clients finish their digestion of excessive inventory and begin placing orders again.

“In my view, the cloud is still there. The industry will remain in the dark over the upcoming half year, or one year. This will be a period of landscape shuffle,” SAS chairman and chief executive official Lu Ming-kuang (盧明光) told reporters after giving his speech during a forum on mergers and acquisitions in the technology sector.

Because the EU is expected to unveil its initial ruling within six months at the earliest after the probe began early this month, most solar companies were dumping their goods this month and next month to avoid paying tariffs for a nine-month retrospective period, Lu said.

The prices for polysilicon solar wafers slid 0.42 percent to US$0.954 per unit on average this month from last month as solar companies took a wait-and-see attitude because of EU anti-dumping probes and the upcoming week-long holiday, beginning on Oct. 1, in China, the latest pricing information from market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) showed.

Prices for polysilicon solar cells declined 2.34 percent to US$1.702 per unit

Despite the industrial slump, SAS will not scale back its research and development spending, Lu said.

Over the past six years, SAS has spent more than NT$400 million (US$13.6 million) on R&D programs, he said.

SAS’ new product validated the company’s efforts, he said. SAS’ new wafer won the company a Solar Industry Award on Tuesday for its new wafer with a high conversion efficiency of 18 percent, surpassing the 17 percent average for similar products on the market.

During his speech, Lu said mergers and acquisitions were a faster and more effective approach to boost revenues and to expand company scale.

SAS expected revenues from its foundry-business unit, GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), to soar to NT$20 billion next year after acquiring Japanese company Covalent Materials Corp for ¥28 billion (US$360.3 million) early this year, Lu said. SAS also obtained 350 patents via the acquisition.

In 1998, SAS generated only NT$500 million from its foundry business, he said.

Global mergers-and-acquisitions deal value in the technology sector grew 33 percent to US$33.4 billion in the second quarter of this year, from last quarter’s US$25.09 billion, according to the statistics from Ernst & Young.

In Asia, mergers-and-acquisitions deal value also expanded 25 percent to US$2.6 billion, according to the tally from Ernst & Young released last month.

That indicated that Asian companies have been aggressive in seeking growth from mergers and acquisitions during global economic weakness, Ernst & Young said.

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