The world's biggest car parts maker Robert Bosch has announced it is buying a majority stake in the solar cell company Ersol. Analysts predict that it will spark a wave of consolidation in the rapidly growing sector.
Even the big players are now beginning to look to solar energy
Bosch announced that it has already signed a contract to purchase just over 50 percent of Ersol's shares from its owners Ventizz Capital Fund and Ventizz II Jersey Holding for 546.4 million euros ($848 million).
The shares of Ersol leapt by 63 percent to 100.90 euros at the start of trading on Monday, Jun. 2, in response to the news.
The automotive parts supplier is also planning to present a public takeover bid for the remaining shares of the company, based in the eastern German state of Thueringen. The transaction still has to be approved by the monopolies commission.
Up to now, Bosch has been mainly associated with the less sustainable car industry
Bosch CEO Franz Fehrenbach said that the company was planning to increase its stake in renewable energies. In 2008, it aims to increase its turnover in this field to 750 million euros.
Big names moving into sustainables
A stock market analyst said that the move demonstrates that big names are willing to invest in the sector despite a reduction in government subsidies.
The Stuttgart-based concern is already involved in technology for wind power plants and the manufacture of solar panels. Since June 2007 the firm has also been co-operating with BASF and the Dresden-based firm heliatek in the field of organic photovoltaic systems.
Ersol estimates that it will turnover some 300 million euros this year, compared to 160 million in 2007. The company, which manufactures silicon solar cells and wafers, employs some 1,000 employees in three different plants.