SAN FRANCISCOSilicon and materials supplier MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Santa Clara, Calif.-based Solaicx in a deal worth at least $76 million, the company said Monday (May 24).
Solaicx has developed proprietary continuous crystal growth manufacturing technology which yields low-cost, high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon wafers for the photovoltaic solar industry, according to MEMC (St. Peters, Mo.). The combined company will have low-cost polysilicon and crystal operations in North America and sales and support offices around the world, MEMC said.
Solaicx has approximately 80 employees and a large-scale production facility in Portland, Ore.
"Bringing MEMC and Solaicx together now is the right thing to do at the right time," said Ken Hannah, president of MEMC Solar Materials, in a statement. "The monocrystalline silicon market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 50 percent during the next three years. This transaction positions MEMC to significantly reduce the cost of monocrystalline silicon."
MEMC has invested heavily in beefing up its solar business, including the $200 million acquisition last year of Sun Edison LLC, a developer of solar power projects and North America's largest solar energy services provider. Some observers have questioned MEMC's push in the service side of the solar industry.
Under the terms of the acquisition, MEMC will pay $66 million in cash to the stockholders of Solaicx, plus an additional amount in cash estimated to be about $10 million, MEMC said. The agreement also includes an earnout, should Solaicx meet certain performance targets in 2010 and 2011, of up to an additional $27.6 million payable to Solaicx securityholders, MEMC said.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of June, MEMC said.