Aker Horizons sells remaining shares in REC Silicon to Hanwha Solutions in ‘major step’ for US solar manufacturing

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Hanwha Q CELLS has a 1.7GW module factory in the US, which relies on the supply of polysilicon. Image: Hanwha

Aker Horizons ASA has agreed to sell its remaining shares in Norwegian polysilicon producer REC Silicon to South Korean chemical company Hanwha Solutions Corporation in what Aker has said is a “major step in rebuilding the US solar supply chain”.

In November, Hanwha bought a 16.67% stake in REC Silicon in a deal worth around US$160 million, with Hanwha Solutions looking to reopen REC Silicon’s 20,000MT Moses Lake polysilicon factory in the US.

Now, Aker has announced it will sell its remaining 70.1 million shares in REC Silicon at NOK20 per share (US$2.29), which was just above the last share purchase price of US$2.28. The deal sees Aker Horizons collect NOK1,402 million (US$160 million) in total proceeds and Hanwha become REC Silicon’s largest shareholder with a 21.34% ownership share.

Last November’s transaction was expected to provide REC Silicon with enough capital to restart its operations at the 20,000MT Moses Lake polysilicon facility in Washington during 2023.

The site employs fluidised bed reactor (FBR) technology to produce granular polysilicon, which REC Silicon said uses 90% less power than the traditional Siemens process.

“Hanwha is a leading solar PV manufacturer globally, operating the largest module production plant in the US, while REC Silicon is the polysilicon producer with the lowest CO2 footprint worldwide,” said Kristian Røkke, CEO of Aker Horizons. “Hanwha has the right expertise to contribute to the successful reopening of Moses Lake.”  

The restart of Moses Lake is in line with US government objectives of developing a domestic manufacturing base and was already more likely following recent policy initiatives unveiled by US President Joe Biden, REC Silicon had previously said.

Hanwha Solutions, through its subsidiary Hanwha Q CELLS, already operates a 1.7GW module factory in the US.

The transaction is expected to be completed before REC Silicon’s annual general meeting in May. Kristian Røkke will step down as chairman of the board of REC Silicon following the transaction.

An extraordinary general meeting in REC Silicon will be called for to appoint new board members.

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