Hanwha close to buying German solar cell firm

Hanwha Group is favored to take over Germany’s troubled Q-Cells, an established name in the solar energy field, according to company officials as they believe they have the strongest bid.

The group’s affiliate Hanwha Chemical is in the final stage of negotiations to absorb Q-Cells.

The German company, once the world’s largest maker of solar cells, filed for bankruptcy in April and has since been put up for auction. Many leading global and domestic firms have shown interest in acquiring it and Q-Cells is interested in a buyer that could safeguard the jobs of its more than 2,000 employees.

“A deal seems imminent,’’ a Hanwha spokesman said.

“We believe we are the strongest bidder. If everything works out well, we could be signing a contract by the end of September.’’

Hanwha Chairman Kim Seung-youn sent a group of 100 people to Q-Cells’ headquarters in Germany and the company’s plant in Malaysia last May to conduct due diligence.

The acquisition is expected to bring Hanwha numerous benefits, market insiders said.

The group, which in 2010 became the largest shareholder of Chinese PV producer Solarfun and renamed it Hanwha SolarOne, can avoid anti-dumping restrictions by the U.S. and EU on cell modules manufactured in China by using Q-Cell’s plant in Malaysia.

Nasdaq-listed Hanwha SolarOne, which was the sixth-largest producer of crystalline silicon modules last year, can also take advantage of Q-Cells’ established brand as well as its expertise as one of the largest PV developers.

Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors.

Upon the news for the high possibility of the purchase, the price of Hanwha Chemical shares jumped 1.36 percent to close at 22,300 won on Thursday. <The Korea Times/Kim Tae-jong>


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