Bosch to buy Conergy inverter subsidiary21. December 2011 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Becky Stuart
Bosch Group and Conergy AG have entered into negotiations under which Bosch will acquire Conergy’s inverter subsidiary, voltwerk electronics GmbH. The financial sum was not divulged.
According to a statement released, the relevant contract has been signed by the two parties. Before the acquisition can go ahead, however, it is subject to anti-trust approval.
Voltwerk electronics has a workforce of 100 and acheievd sales of €68 million in 2010. Under Bosch’s plans, it will be integrated into Bosch Power Tec GmbH, founded last January.
The news is said to represent a strategic step in Conergy’s reorientation. COO, Alexander Gorski commented, "In line with our system supplier strategy, we are systematically reducing our own manufacturing depth and focusing Conergy on its international sales activities and on the servicing business, which will become increasingly important in future. After the restructuring of our own module manufacture initiated at the end of November, a further important step in reshaping the company has now been taken with this deal."
Market analyst Gerard Reid, from Jefferies, told pv magazine that he is not surprised that big electronics firms, such as Bosch, are acquiring inverter companies, while the photovoltaics market is at a low ebb. Reid said that inverter technology is going to become increasingly important as solar photovoltaics become more competitive with other electricity sources.
"The inverter is the brains of a solar system where, going forward, it’s going to become even more important to have that intelligence. And that’s also the interface with, if you do have an energy storage solution, the inverter is going to be the connection point between the battery and the solar system."
Reid added that Bosch’s move historically is not surprising. Electronics giant Siemens bought into the wind energy sector while the market was at its bottom. He concluded that inverters make a likely takeover target. "Inverters are also really where you have intellectual property. You don’t really have a huge amount of intellectual property in the solar module space. It’s a commodity. An inverter is not a commodity, at least it’s not up to now."
At the start of November, Conergy announced that it would discontinue its solar wafer and cell operations at its Frankfurt (Oder) plant in Germany, affecting around 300 employees.
In the statement, the company added, "By concluding a long-term supply contract, Conergy is ensuring that it will also have access to the premium inverter range in the future so that the system supplier continues to offer its customers complete solar solutions from a single source."
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