Bosch receives first offers to buy solar division

Initial enquiries from prospective investors have been received, Bosch spokesperson Katrin Lauterbach confirmed to pv magazine. "We are currently examining them based on their substance," she added. Bosch will not disclose any particulars, and has said that the length of its assessment of the offers is dependent on a variety of factors.

"We are examining all bids and prospects very thoroughly. The goal is to preserve as many jobs as possible and to find the best solution for the affected employees," continued Lauterbach.

Just under two weeks ago, Bosch announced it would exit the crystalline photovoltaic business, thus affecting around 3,000 employees, most of which are based in Germany’s Arnstadt. As such, the company is looking for a buyer for both its business in Thüringen and for its over 90% stake in aleo solar.

"In recent months, Bosch thoroughly considered all options for its crystalline photovoltaics business," stated Lauterbach further. "However, none of the options offered a long-term economically-viable perspective. A continuation of the business in the area of crystalline photovoltaics is not economic and, even a substantial risk."

Protest

In related news, a march, organized by IG Metall, was held today protesting the closure of Bosch’s solar plants in Arnstadt. In Erfurt and Arnstadt alone, 1,800 people have been directly affected by the company’s announcement. Many jobs in the region also depend indirectly on its production. IG Metall estimates that this figure is around 3,500.

"A company like Bosch should not give up prematurely," stated Wolfgang Lemb of IG Metall. In case the exit decision is kept by Bosch, IG Metall demands to examine the sale within the solar industry, and says that the production plant should stay in Arnstadt.

Bosch could also shift other production fields to Thüringen. The trade union wants to meet up with the company’s works council and secure a binding agreement from the management that Bosch will continue manufacturing until end of this year and that all employees are also kept on until at least end of this year.

Translated by Becky Beetz and Vera von Kreutzbruck.