Rumours have been circulating the airwaves that Q-Cells SE and LDK Solar have applied for permission to form a joint venture. A report on Bloomberg today included a link to a German antitrust organization that lists the two companies’ names, shouldered with the task of deciding whether or not the two companies collaborating would distort competition.
While it is unclear as yet to what extent the companies will collaborate, the likelihood is, given industry demands, that the companies will seek to form a joint venture for the production and supply of upgraded metallurgical-grade silicon (UMG-Si) wafers, although this is open to debate for the time being.
The Bloomberg report’s author stated that in a phone conversation, Kay Weidner, a spokesman for the Federal Cartel Office regulator, said that the regulator would inform the companies in writing within a month whether or not they considered the potential JV a distortion of competition. If the concerns are founded, the regulator will then have four months in which to evaluate the application properly.
Speculation has increased in recent weeks over deals linked with LDK Solar, which has seen its stock price plummet and financial analyst downgrades. Q-Cells has also experienced a rough ride with downgrades and lowering of projected sales.
Both companies have forged various high volume wafer supply and tolling agreements in the last year, fuelling market speculation of further deal making as the PV industry struggles with tight credit and weakened demand.
Additional reporting by Mark Osborne