Tue, Nov 20, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Neo Solar plans to buy 15 percent stake in DelSolar

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Local solar cell producer Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光) yesterday said it planned to acquire as much as a 15 percent stake in local peer DelSolar Co (旺能光電) in an initial move toward an ultimate merger with the company to gain an edge in a solar market plagued by constant oversupply.

Neo Solar will further evaluate the possibility of fully acquiring DelSolar after wrapping up the first-step share purchase, the company said in a statement.

A full integration would create the nation’s biggest solar cell producer by expanding annual capacity to a combined 2 gigawatts, according to the statement, outpacing Taiwan’s top solar cell maker, Motech Industries Inc (茂迪), which has 1.6 gigawatts in annual capacity.

“The deal aims to integrate resources, to boost operating scale and to enhance competitiveness,” Neo Solar president Sam Hong (洪傳獻) said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Neo Solar plans to buy up to 40.5 million shares of DelSolar via a cash-and-share swap deal totaling NT$440.34 million (US$15.1 million). Neo Solar plans to buy those shares on the open market between yesterday and Dec. 14.

Neo Solar said it would pay DelSolar shareholders NT$0.5 in cash and 0.703 Neo Solar shares for each DelSolar share. That represents about a 3.52 percent premium, based on Neo Solar’s closing price of NT$14.75 and DelSolar’s closing price of NT$10.5 yesterday.

“The consolidation will have positive impact on both companies because Neo Solar will have more bargaining power when buying raw materials, like polysilicon and solar wafers. That will help reduce the company’s costs and thereby boost its competitiveness,” a TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) solar industry analyst who wished to remain anonymous said by telephone.

The deal would also put Neo Solar in a better position than its local peers when soliciting orders from Chinese solar companies, which purchase locally made solar cells and other products to circumvent heavy import taxes on their solar products, primarily solar cells, because of trade disputes between China and the US, the analyst said.

Chinese solar companies are also facing potential punitive tariffs on their solar products from the European Commission because of alleged dumping of solar products and illegal subsidies from Beijing, after the commission initiated a probe earlier this year.

DelSolar is a 54 percent owned solar cell manufacturing arm of the nation’s biggest power system unit maker, Delta Electronics Inc (台達電子).

Delta will remain the biggest stakeholder in the new solar cell company and it planned to offer up to NT$1.5 billion to improve the firm’s financial structure, Delta chairman Yancey Hai (海英俊) said.

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