Aleo Solar finds buyer in Asia

Aleo Solar will sell most of its key assets – including its 350MW module factory in northern Germany, its brand name and its intellectual property – to a consortium of Asian investors led by a Taiwanese PV cell maker.

Calling itself SCP Solar, the consortium – comprising Taiwan’s Sunrise Global Solar Energy Co., Japan’s Choshu Industry Co., and Pan Asia Solar Ltd. – will pay just €1 for the assets, underscoring the dire straits in which Aleo currently finds itself.

Aleo had already been using Sunrise Global Solar’s cells in its high-quality modules, which are primarily sold into the European rooftop market. Sunrise Global runs a cell factory in Yilan, Taiwan.

Choshu Industry is a niche module maker for the Japanese rooftop segment.

The arrangement would see Robert Bosch – the German automotive giant and Aleo’s largest shareholder – inject €31m ($42m) into Aleo, with the module-maker to then pay SCP Solar a “negative purchase price” of €10m to take the assets off its hands.

Loss-making Aleo faced the grim prospect of Bosch cutting off all funding in March.

In return, SCP Solar has promised to retain at least 200 Aleo jobs in Germany. As of last autumn, the company claimed to have nearly 800 employees.

What little remains of Aleo Solar AG after the sale would then be liquidated, with Bosch pledging to provide additional funds if there is a “concrete need” for money “to enable an orderly liquidation without filing for insolvency”.

“I regret that we were unable to save more jobs,” says Aleo chief executive York zu Putlitz. “However, with production in Prenzlau, a large number of the sales team and the aleo brand, we are retaining important sections of the company.”

The acquisition of aleo “will close the gap between ourselves as cell manufacturers and the end customer”, says Ted Szpitalak, co-founder of Sunrise Global. “It will turn us into a potent, integrated solar manufacturer capable of offering attractive prices to global markets.”

Aleo is only the latest German PV manufacturer to see some of its core assets being acquired by Asian companies. Late last year China’s Astronergy agreed to buy Conergy’s module factory in Frankfurt (Oder), while Qatar Solar will hold a 29% stake in the newly restructured SolarWorld AG.