Showa Shell demerging Solar Frontier

Japanese thin-film PV group Solar Frontier is to demerge from its oil-focused parent company, Showa Shell Sekiyu.

The demerger – known as an “absorption-type company split” in Japanese law – will see Solar Frontier continue business at arm’s length as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the energy group, incorporating all its former parent’s PV-related assets.

Showa Shell Sekiyu said: “The transfer and unification of company-owned assets regarding solar-related research and development activities etc... will speed up Solar Frontier's decision-making ability and improve its flexibility.”

The demerger is due to be approved by shareholders on 19 September and effective from October.

Solar Frontier is the world’s largest maker of CIGS thin-film modules.

Showa Shell Sekiyu separately said today that its Energy Solutions division – which for the time being mainly comprises Solar Frontier – posted second-quarter operating profits of 11.1bn yen ($108m) up from 4.8bn yen at the same stage last year.

The group said: “Panel sales prices declined in the second quarter, but not beyond our annual business plan assumptions.

“Production cost reduction in line with our plan also helped profitability.”