Komax pulls out of solar industry

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Komax Group has announced it is pulling out of the solar industry by selling its module assembly equipment arm, Komax Solar.

Present operations are continuing and business remains as usual; Komax Group told PV Tech it still has “the biggest interest” in seeing Komax Solar being successful in the future under a new ownership, and the Group “continues with unchanged high pace to invest in technology, new products and better processes.”

After completing a strategic review and releasing financial figures earlier this year, Komax Group said the risk potential of Komax Solar was “not compatible” with the Group’s objectives.

The company confirmed to PV Tech that it is now seeking a suitable buyer for its solar arm, but will continue to maintain machines it has already sold.

Komax Solar cut jobs in June last year, and again reduced its headcount by 50% in January this year, following a 90% drop in product orders, due to overcapacity and loss of customers.

Finlay Colville, vice president of analyst firm NPD Solarbuzz, said: “Komax Solar operations were loss making even back in 2009 and 2010, making it a relatively easy decision to exit the solar industry as the backlog got almost fully depleted over the past 18 months and new orders were few and far between.”

Colville said Komax’s participation in the PV equipment supply chain covered four “phases” (see graph, left).

“Phase I, from 2006-2008, showed strong order intake as Asia Pacific and European module suppliers added capacity, many from a very low megawatt installation base,” he said.

“Phase II was the brief economic downturn when there was a short lull in PV capacity investments. Phase III from 2009 to 2011 were the glory days for Komax, as Chinese c-Si module suppliers added significant gigawatt scales of new capacity.

“Finally, phase IV represents the over-capacity, investment reset period where – aside from a few brief phases – new order intake dropped to very low levels.”

Komax Solar makes up an estimated 3% of Komax Group’s net sales. Komax Group has two other business units, Komax Wire, Komax MedTech, with most sales made in Europe.

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