GT Advanced Technologies Inc., (NASDAQ: GTAT), announced that it has acquired privately-held Confluence Solar, Inc., the developer of HiCz™, a continuously-fed Czochralski (CCz) growth technology, that enables the production of high efficiency monocrystalline solar ingots, which is expected to lower production costs.
The purchase price consisted of $60 million in cash paid to Confluence Solar’s shareholders at closing and an additional $20 million of cash earn-outs payable upon the achievement of certain financial and technical milestones through GT’s FY13. Investors in Confluence Solar include Convexa Capital, OCI and Oceanshore Investors.
Inclusive of incremental R&D and capital investments to accelerate GT’s time to market with a CCz product, the acquisition is expected to become accretive in the second half of GT’s FY13. The company indicated that the acquisition will eliminate certain previously planned organic development costs in both fiscal 2012 and 2013 which, when netted against the costs incurred in the acquired business, will make the acquisition additionally accretive in fiscal 2013.
“This acquisition adds an innovative technology to GT’s PV product portfolio that is well aligned with our strategy to rapidly innovate and develop next-generation crystal growth solutions,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT Advanced Technologies president and CEO. “PV manufacturers are focusing more closely on increasing cell efficiency as a way to lower the cost of solar energy. Confluence’s HiCz™ technology is expected to drive down the cost of monocrystalline wafers below traditional Czochralski methods while enabling flexible production of advanced materials used in next generation cell architectures. Similar to our strategy deployed in the acquisition of Crystal Systems, our primary goal is to become a major equipment supplier to the CCz monocrystalline market by commercializing the technology that we have acquired. We expect to launch a commercial CCz mono equipment offering in our fiscal year 2013.”
GT Advanced Technologies is investing in a number of next generation silicon crystal growth technologies aimed at taking cost out of the solar PV value chain. The company recently announced that by the end of its second fiscal quarter it expects to introduce its MonoCast™ growth technology, which will improve material quality produced in its industry-leading directional solidification process and allow customers to leverage the value of their investment in GT’s DSS multicrystalline furnaces. The acquisition of Confluence Solar takes GT into a new market segment with a next generation technology offering that will further improve efficiency and lower cost at the high end of the solar PV market.