Hanwha SolarOne targeting 600MW of tariff-free module supply to US in 2015

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The previously announced plan to merge Hanwha Q CELLS into Hanwha SolarOne will enable the company to supply at least 600MW of PV modules to the US in 2015 that would be tariff-free. 

Hanwha SolarOne said that the tariff-free modules come from Hanwha Q CELLS production plants in Malaysia and Germany as well as OEM agreements in Canada as well as Hanwha SolarOne’s new module assembly plant in South Korea. 

“We are well-positioned to provide high-quality and high-efficiency 72-cell modules to residential, commercial and utility markets in the US by leveraging our globally diversified manufacturing locations in Germany, South Korea, Malaysia and Canada,” noted Seong Woo Nam, chairman and chief executive officer of Hanwha SolarOne. “We believe through these locations we can provide over 600 MW of tariff-free PV modules to the US in 2015. In addition, we expect to enter 2016 with well over 1GW of tariff-free capacity to serve the US market, including 800 MW of module capacity in Malaysia we expect to become fully operational by the end of 2015.”

The high anti-dumping duties imposed on China and Taiwan made PV products is forcing many companies to analyse production locations that can serve the important US market while avoiding anti-dumping duties. Malaysia is already considered a key PV manufacturing hub, which includes large production facilities for US-based firms such as First Solar and SunPower. 

REC Solar, which has recently announced its planned acquisition by a Chinese investment firm, Bluestar has integrated manufacturing in Singapore that is expected to reach a capacity 1.3GW in 2015, supporting supply deals already signed with the likes of SolarCity, the largest residential installer in the US in the wake of the latest anti-dumping duties. 

The merger of the two Hanwha PV operations was expected to provide combined revenue of around US$733 million. Hanwha SolarOne reported third quarter revenue of US$195.2 million, an increase of 8.2% from the previous quarter. 

The company said that privately held Hanwha Q CELLS had generated an operating profit of US$7.8 million for the six months of 2014 from US$33.2 million loss from the prior year period. 

The merger deal would also benefit gross margin expansion to 14.5% (versus 11.7% for Hanwha SolarOne alone). 

“The combined company plans to further improve the combined company's cost competitiveness by leveraging Hanwha SolarOne's cost-efficient module manufacturing base together and Q CELLS' industry-leading, highly efficient and fully automated cell manufacturing capabilities. Hanwha SolarOne believes that the combined scale and optimized global footprint will strengthen Hanwha SolarOne's strategic and financial position and should enable Hanwha SolarOne to accelerate growth in the most important solar markets,” added Nam. 

Hanwha SolarOne has lagged behind many of its rivals in 2014 and has guided shipment growth for 2014 of between 10-15%, compared to the likes of JA Solar that has guided shipment growth of over 100%. 

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