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Wafer maker MEMC to acquire solar firm Solaicx for $76 million

Wafer manufacturer MEMC Electronic Materials announced that it would acquire privately-held solar firm Solaicx for $76 million.

Wafer manufacturer MEMC Electronic Materials on Monday announced that it would acquire privately-held solar firm Solaicx.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Solaicx is known for its "continuous crystal growth" manufacturing technology that allows the production of low-cost, high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon wafers for photovoltaic solar panels.

Solaicx's crystal growth tech allows for more volume than traditional silicon ingots.

The appeal of the deal is as follows:

  • MEMC gets Solaicx's proprietary process and equipment, which complements its own specialty;
  • The acquisition expands MEMC's footprint in solar industry.
  • The acquisition gives Solaicx the scale needed to grow its customer base.

MEMC manufactures wafers and related products to the semiconductor and solar industries, and is North America's largest solar energy services provider. Solaicx has approximately 80 employees and a large-scale production facility in Portland, Oregon.

Together, the combined company will have low-cost polysilicon and crystal operations in North America with sales and support offices around the world.

The price of the acquisition totaled $76 million: $66 million in closing cash and another $10 million in additional investment.

"The monocrystalline silicon market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 50 percent during the next three years," MEMC solar materials president Ken Hannah said in a statement. "This transaction positions MEMC to significantly reduce the cost of monocrystalline silicon."

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of June 2010 and reflected in earnings in 2011.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com