AstroPower, Inc. to Acquire Leading Spanish PV Supplier

Acquisition Will Expand AstroPower’s Reach into the Global Solar Electric Power Market.

NEWARK, DE, US, 2001-08-01 [] AstroPower, Inc. (NASDAQ: APWR) today announced that it is buying Atersa, a privately held company based in Valencia, Spain for $21.1 million, in a stock and cash transaction. In addition, AstroPower is buying out Atersa’s 50 percent stake in their previous joint venture AstraSolar. The acquisition is AstroPower’s first purchase abroad. The company, which was formed in 1989 and went public in 1998, has been buoyed by the recent energy crisis in California and has signed several contracts with homebuilders in that state to provide photovoltaic systems for solar-powered homes. AstroPower had $49.8 million in revenues and reported a profit of $3.5 million last year. Dr. Allen Barnett, President and Chief Executive Officer of AstroPower said, “We have had an outstanding relationship with Atersa for many years, and are very happy to be in a position to formally combine forces with this fine company. We recognize the strong capabilities of the Atersa and AstraSolar teams and welcome them as an integral part of AstroPower going forward.” Peter Aschenbrenner, AstroPower’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales commented, “This acquisition builds on our strategy of combining leading regional downstream market positions with AstroPower’s low cost solar cell manufacturing technology. The addition of Atersa to the AstroPower group should provide several key benefits and synergies. “First of all, Atersa has a leading distribution presence in the Spanish market. We believe that this distribution network will be a very valuable channel for serving the emerging grid-connected residential rooftop market, and that there will be significant operational synergies with AstroPower’s ongoing domestic residential rooftop program.” Mr. Aschenbrenner continued: “Second, Atersa has built an impressive pipeline of large on-grid project business, the leading example of which is the 13 MW project in Murcia, a $65 million turnkey power plant project slated for construction starting in 2002. We expect the Spanish on-grid market (both residential and large project applications) to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the overall solar electric power business over the next few years, driven by incentive programs now being implemented. “Third, Atersa brings new downstream project engineering and management capabilities to the group. This will allow AstroPower to pursue strategic turnkey project business opportunities throughout our international sales network in addition to our ongoing component supply business. “Finally, we believe that this acquisition gives us an excellent platform from which to scale up our solar cell and module manufacturing presence in Europe, which has consistently accounted for more than half of AstroPower’s product revenue. Not only will this put production closer to our customers, but the increased Euro content of products made in Spain should allow us to capitalize on cost advantages driven by shifting exchange rates,” Aschenbrenner concluded. Commenting on the financial aspects of the acquisition AstroPower CFO Thomas Stiner said, “Over the next few years, we expect sizeable revenue and earnings synergies as we ramp up solar cell production capacity to meet market demand in our base components business. We will be giving more guidance concerning the anticipated impact of this acquisition on AstroPower’s business during our upcoming 2nd quarter 2001 earnings conference call on August 2.” “It’s a great foothold for AstroPower to enter the European market,” said Greg Haas, a Wall Street analyst who follows AstroPower for Raymond James & Associates.
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