SolarWorld signs deal with Bosch to buy cell and module facilities in Germany

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Bosch has sold its solar cell and module operations in Arnstadt, Germany to SolarWorld, securing around 800 jobs, according to an official statement from the company. Financial details were not disclosed.

Bosch said that SolarWorld had drawn up a business plan for the Arnstadt plant that provides a long-term future for the facility and just over half the current workforce of around 1,500 at the location.

Bosch's module manufacturing plant in France was not part of the deal.

SolarWorld has been struggling in recent months and is undergoing financial restructuring, but chief executive Frank Asbeck said the deal would not affect this process. “The agreement with Bosch is such that a multi-year operation of the cell and module manufacturing facilities in Arnstadt can be secured without jeopardising our financial reorganisation. On the contrary, together we can restore profitability even quicker,” he said, without giving further detail.

Bosch had announced back in March, 2013 that it would exit the solar industry due to its inability to remain competitive because of global overcapacity and unsustainable module price declines.

Early estimates by Bosch was that a total loss of around €2.4 billion (US$3.1 billion), including €1.6 billion (US$2.1 billion) in impairments would result from the exit of the industry.

Bosch is also planning to manufacture an automotive product at the Arnstadt industrial complex, shifting production from a plant in Hatvan, Hungary, saving approximately 250 jobs.

An unidentified pharmaceutical firm also plans to manufacture pharmaceutical products at the Arnstadt location, using an available cleanroom, creating around 100 jobs, according to Bosch.
 

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