Bosch breaks into PV inverters with Conergy buy

Bosch is buying Conergy’s voltwerk inverter business, a deal that gives Bosch another inroad into solar PV (and beyond) and helps Conergy slim down its own business.

December 22, 2011 – Robert Bosch is expanding its inroads into solar PV to include inverters, with its proposed acquisition of Conergy’s voltwerk electronics unit. The deal is reportedly worth ?1.5B (US $2B), against voltwerk’s 2010 sales of ?68M (roughly ~9% of Conergy’s total sales).

For Bosch, this deal is one more thrust into the solar PV market, with a product portfolio ranging from 3kW string inverters to 1400kW central inverters. Bosch’s solar division posted 2010 sales of ?885M, spanning cells/modules to turnkey projects across Europe and Asia. (It is currently building a ?500M PV plant in Malaysia and is retrofitting a French auto-pump plant into a 150MW module factory; it also has near- or total ownership in CIGS firm Aleo and c-Si firm Ersol.) voltwerk, to be folded into the Böblingen-based Bosch Power Tec group formed less than a year ago, will be the inaugural piece of an inverter business that the company eventually expects to expand beyond solar. “In the coming years, we want to grow with this dynamic market in all the world’s major regions,” stated group GM Andreas Stratmann. WestLB analyst Peter Wirtz thinks that Conergy’s small-scale inverters already did well, and now give Bosch a stepping-stone to larger-scale, higher-margin inverters.

For Conergy this is another step in getting leaner and meaner, since tossing out its 2011 projections earlier this year and restructuring ownership with creditors. The company recently suspended wafer and cell production at its Frankfurt site, focusing on modules only. It is, however, still planning and supplying components for various projects in Europe, Asia, and the US.

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