Bosch responds to solar exit rumours

01. October 2012 | Markets & Trends, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Sandra Enkhardt

Bosch has sent mixed signals today about coverage that it may be about to withdraw from the solar industry. The company has distanced itself from the headlines, but equally has not denied them.

Bosch closed its Erfurt thin film plant.

The German "Financial Times Deutschland (FTD)" ran the headline "Bosch threatens withdrawal from solar" today. "The title was a creation of the FTD," Bosch said in a statement. The basis for this header was the speech made by Bosch board head Franz Fehrenbach during the award ceremony for "Strategist of the year" last Thursday.

He apparently claimed that "the continuing unpredictability of conditions as a crucial source of irritation for every strategy." Referring to photovoltaics and the energy revolution, he added that significant investment in solar is necessary, however, "such investments also need investment security", according to a Bosch statement. Still in context, Fehrenbach apparently said that even a long-term oriented company like Bosch cannot perpetuate funds to a future-oriented business like photovoltaics - long term does not mean forever.

In the past there have been speculations about Bosch withdrawing from the photovoltaics business. In an earlier interview Fehrenbach had announced that Bosch will place the division under scrutiny. The company has been investing in solar since 2008.

In August, Bosch announced the closure of its thin film production in Erfurt. The company also took over Ersol and Johanna Solar, as well as a part of Aleo Solar. Lately it acquired Voltwerk, the inverter partner of Conergy. In 2011, the industrial technology division, under which photovoltaics fell, had to deal with operating losses of €364 million. Overall the company has lost an estimated €1.3 million via its solar division as FTD states.

Translated and edited by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger.

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