A consortium of Portuguese companies have begun to finalise the purchase of the recently constructed 100MW Qimonda Solar cell plant at Vila do Conde in northern Portugal, according to a Reuters report. Working with Angolan bank BPA, the companies intend to take a 51% share in the plant, with the other 49% remaining with Centrosolar.
Centrosolar has been involved in the plant since its inception and will buy half of the plant’s production, the report claimed. The companies involved in the 51% takeover are said to include Energias de Portugal, Visabeira conglomerate and construction firm DST, and BES and Millennium BCP banks.
It is thought that the initial investment in Phase 1 of the plant cost €70 million. Qimonda has been trying to avoid liquidation in the past few months, and kept on some 200 staff members at the Vila do Conde plant. The news of new investors in the site could lead to the plant’s employee figures rising to 450, the addition of a solar panel production line, and a hike in capacity.
Update June 8th
The details of the agreement have been worked out, says Centrosolar, and the way is paved for the 51% interest transfer from Qimonda to the new investor, a consortium of companies, namely: Portuguese energy group Energias de Portugal (EDP); state investment company Inovcapital; Banco Espírito Santo, Banco Comercial Português and Banco Privado Atlântico; project developer DST Renováveis and infrastructure company the Visabeira Group.
As a result of this successful ownership transfer, Portugal’s first solar cell plant looks set to open in early 2010.