Taiwan’s Motech and Topcell to merge

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Taiwan-based solar cell producers, Motech Industries and Topcell Solar International (TSI), have announced plans to merge operations, potentially creating the largest merchant solar cell producer, with around 3GW of capacity.

Motech said in statement that it would be the surviving company post merger that had been agreed by both company boards on December 26, 2014. The merger is expected to close in early July, 2015. 

“After Motech’s merger, its solar cell production capacity will hit 3GW, which is the largest professional solar cell maker that focus on manufacturing solar cells,” said, Jason Huang, research manager of EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce. “Globally, it trails slightly behind the vertical integrated Hanwha SolarOne and Yingli, with 3.28GW and 3.2GW solar cell production capacity respectively. Following the industry development trend of larger enterprises remaining strong, production capacity expansion is also beneficial to price negotiations other than steadily leading in technology and quality, making it one of the essential factors of maintaining supply chain competitiveness,” added Huang.

Huang noted that Motech’s solar cell production capacity in Taiwan was around 1.1GW and 700MW in China, while TSi’s was about 1.2GW. 

Combined monocrystalline cell production capacity was estimated at around 450MW, and the capacity for high-efficiency PERC cells said to be approximately 140MW.

“Motech’s M&A this time can be considered as an expansion of production capacity, but at the moment, there is no clear indicator of any mutually strengthening aspects,” said Huang. “TSI plans its overall equipment in a higher standard within the industry, and it has been researching on high efficiency technology includes N-type mono-si cell. Therefore, the M&A’s purpose might not just mutually strengthen the two companies within the fiercely competitive and rapidly changing solar industry, but to minimise the differences and shorten the transition and adjustment period.”

There has been a swathe of consolidation within the Taiwan PV supply chain in recent years, a direct response to overcapacity and weaker than expected demand. 

More recently, the likes of Motech have been impacted by the fall in demand for solar cells by Chinese module suppliers as the latest US anti-dumping case included cells made in Taiwan. 

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