Meyer Burger and 3S Industries to merge: Third largest PV equipment supplier created

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Meyer Burger is bulking up its business and product profolio with an all-share acquisition of 3S Industries, valuing 3S at approximately 300 million Swiss francs. The merger will create a company with 2008 pro forma revenue of approximately 557 million Swiss francs (US$541 million) and a workforce comprising more than 900 employees, making it the third-largest PV equipment supplier, based on VLSI Research’s Top 10 equipment rankings for 2008. Meyer Burger had been ranked the 6th largest supplier by revenue in 2008. Only Applied Materials and Oerlikon Solar had higher sales last year.

“The combined technology portfolio of Meyer Burger and 3S covers the main core competences along the value chain in the production of solar energy systems and will position us as a provider of fully integrated systems solutions,” remarked Peter Pauli, CEO of Meyer Burger Technology Ltd. “We will play a crucial role in further reducing the costs of solar power and thus help achieving the industry goal of grid parity faster.”

“The strategic fit of the two companies is impressive. The merger of Meyer Burger and 3S will enable us to implement our vision of creating the leading group in the dynamic solar supplying industry and generate excellent opportunities to take advantage of the promising and expected further growth of the solar market,” commented Dr. Patrick Hofer-Noser, CEO of 3S Industries Ltd.

Although the companies played on the fact that there were clear synergies and different core competences will no product overlap, a fully integrated business would require more acquisitions or partnerships with front-end solar cell equipment suppliers, perhaps along the lines of the recently announced sales and service agreement between Meyer and Oerlikon Systems for its new single wafer sputtering system, Solaris.  Though the company has also been acquiring other front-end equipment suppliers such as AMB Apparate + Maschinenbau.

However, the 3S acquisition gives Meyer a significant presence in the PV module assembly market both for c-Si and thin-film markets. Meyer has also bulked up its product portfolio in its core solar wafering business with the purchase of Diamond Wire Technology.

Apart form the obvious cost savings of the merger, put at approximately 20 million Swiss francs, the key boost come from the merging of the distribution networks and anticipated cross-selling benefits. 3S should benefit from greater penetration in Asia.

The merging of the distribution networks and anticipated cross-selling benefits will increase sales volumes, accelerate global expansion and further strengthen the new Group's presence in its key markets in Europe, Asia and the U.S. With its technology portfolio and strong geographical presence, the new Group will command a powerful global distribution and service network that is unique in the industry.

The merger proposal will be presented to shareholders in both companies for approval at their Extraordinary General Meetings, which are due to take place on 14 January 2010. The transaction is expected to be completed around 21 January 2010.


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