GERMANY: Bosch moves into solar energy

By just-auto.com editorial team | 2 June 2008

Europe's large component supplier, Robert Bosch, is entering the solar energy business by acquiring a majority stake in a solar photovoltaic cell manufacturer that is moving into the solar thin film business.

It has signed an agreement with a financial investor, Ventizz, to acquire 50.45% of the shares in Ersol Solar Energy based in Erfurt, Germany.

Ersol develops, manufactures, and sells wafer-based silicon solar cells, and is moving into the manufacture of thin-film modules. The company had global sales of EUR160m in 2007 and expects over EUR300m this year. The company employs about 1,000 at three locations.

The purchase price was EUR101 per share or EUR546.5m. Bosch will also make a public takeover offer to all other Ersol shareholders at the same price. The acquisition is subject to approval by antitrust authorities.

Bosch said it hoped to extend its business in the area of renewable energies - it already operates in the sector.

Although initially much of its efforts relate to households, rather than the automotive industry, there is a growing trend towards electrification of vehicles. Some vehicle manufacturers are looking into how that electricity can be produced by using renewable energy.