At an Extraordinary General Meeting on January 15, REC’s shareholders approved to sell the business as the largest European supplier of solar panels worldwide and to combine with the Norway-based Elkem Group. The closing of the transaction is expected in early March 2015.
Bluestar Elkem Investment is set to acquire REC Solar Holdings AS and all of the assets and liabilities of REC Solar at a cash purchase price of NOK 4,340 million. Since 2011, the Norway-based Elkem Group is fully owned by China National Bluestar, which in turn is a joint venture between the conglomerate ChemChina and Blackstone.
Martin Cooper, CEO of REC, states: “We are pleased that the shareholders have voted in favour of this transaction, in accordance with the previous recommendation by the Board of Directors. We believe that a combination with the Elkem Group will provide a strong platform to further develop REC, with added strengths and new opportunities.”
Elkem is keen to develop the existing organization of REC and to invest in further growth as a leading global brand in the solar industry. According to members of management, both companies are strongly committed to maintaining the high quality of REC’s solar panels, which far surpass stringent certifications, as well as to ensure REC warranties stay reliable. The basis for this industry-leading product quality will continue to be REC’s fully-automated integrated production plant in Singapore. Perhaps most importantly, customers can expect “business as usual”.
Going forward, REC is expecting new business opportunities due to this transaction. As the Elkem Group is a leading supplier of silicon, REC can benefit from new synergies up-stream the value chain. The company’s already strong strategic and financial position will be further strengthened thanks to improved access to financing, further boosting research and development, new technologies, production capacity and penetrating new markets in Asia such as China. “The Elkem Group and REC have developed a strong business relationship and there is a good strategic match between the companies, as both have a Norwegian corporate culture and heritage. The Elkem Group has a strategic goal to grow its presence in the solar industry. The ambition is to establish a leading integrated PV player,” comments Helge Aasen, CEO of Elkem AS.
Elkem is one of the world’s leading companies for environmentally-friendly production of materials. Its principal products are silicon, solar grade silicon, special alloys for the foundry industry, carbon products and microsilica. Elkem has 14 production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia, as well as an extensive network of sales offices and agents covering the most important markets. The Elkem Group employs about 2,100 people and is headquartered in Oslo, Norway. Helge Aasen has been the CEO of Elkem AS since 2009, and is also member of Elkem’s Board. Operating revenues for the Elkem Group in 2013 were NOK 7.9 billion.