Mersen launches solar offensive

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Electrical equipment specialist and graphite-based materials supplier Mersen will set up a solar joint venture with one of its partners in China. The French company said the new unit is expected to generate sales of €10 million-€20 million over the next five years.

Joint venture Galaxy JV – in which Mersen will hold a 60% stake by investing around RMB60 million ($8.6 million) – will be set up with China’s Yantai Zhifu Graphite, and will focus on the production of carbon and carbon composites and flexible felt insulation solutions, for the Chinese CZ monocrystalline ingot market.

In China, Mersen is already partnering with monocrystalline manufacturer Longi, with which it signed a supply agreement for graphite parts in January. Around 70% of Mersen’s customer base for CZ ingot technology based on graphite, is based in China.

Mersen said it expects solar sales to expand at a CAGR of 8-12% up to 2023, to grow from an expected €55 million-€60 million this year to between €90 million and €100 million in five years’ time.

The company added, its solar market strategy is aimed at accelerating the growth of the JV, seeking opportunities to expand graphite production capacity in the medium term, bringing production of electrical protection and capacitors to Asia, and strengthening ties with Chinese inverter makers such as Huawei and Sungrow.

Meanwhile, Mersen’s results for the first three quarters of the year saw rising sales for its solar business. Turnover in the Advanced Materials segment, which totaled €124 million, grew 16.1% year-on-year, due to good performance in the solar and electronics market, the company said. The company’s solar and storage business provided slight growth in revenue in the Electric Power segment, achieving sales of €98.9 million, up 2.8% on the first nine months of last year.