Meyer Burger sells off its Swiss wafer business

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Illinois-based PSS, formerly Lapmaster Wolters, is a global supplier of equipment and services for surface enhancement technology, and will take over parts of Meyer Burger’s current production facilities in Thun as well as around 100 employees involved in the wafering technology portfolio in Thun and service locations worldwide.

The closing of the CHF50m ($50m,€43m) deal is expected to be completed towards the end of the first quarter of 2019. The contract also includes an earn-out component based on certain revenue levels in 2019. 

“Although Meyer Burger grew from its roots in the wafering industry, our main focus today is on PV cell coating and module connection technologies. As the new owner of our wafering portfolio and with its presence in the semiconductor industry, PSS is ideally positioned to fully maximize the synergies with our wafering technologies. I am very pleased that with PSS as the new owner, we have found a solution that is advantageous for both parties while at the same time securing both jobs and technology know-how in Thun,” said Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger.

PSS develops equipment for processing solutions for the lapping, polishing, fine grinding, brush deburring, creep feed grinding, bore honing, double disc grinding and buffing under the Lapmaster, Peter Wolters, ELB, Micron, Aba, REFORM, Barnes and Kehren brands. It is based in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, with over 900 people across 13 manufacturing facilities on three continents.

“The acquisition of Meyer Burger’s wafering technology portfolio will further enable us to strengthen and grow our activities in our key markets. We look forward to maximizing the synergies together with a strong local team and utilizing the potential to relocate additional production activities to the manufacturing location in Thun,” said Brian Nelson, President & CEO of PSS.

PSS says it has signed a a long-term rental agreement with Meyer Burger for the Thun site for non-PV wafering applications, while production of photovoltaic wafers will remain in China. PSS will further maintain global service support for all current and future wafering customers worldwide. PSS will take over around 70 employees at its Thun location and around an additional 30 globally. 

Meyer Burger says the deal will aloo it to further concentrate its strategic focus on the existing cell/module technologies business, especially its successful Heterojunction and SmartWire Connection Technology (SWCT), and next generation cell/module technologies.

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