Applied Materials Acquires Leading Supplier of Photovoltaic Cells

Applied Materials, Inc. today announced that it has acquired Baccini S.p.A., a leading supplier of automated metallization and test systems for manufacturing crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic (PV) cells. Under the terms of the agreement, Applied paid €225 million (or approximately US$334 million) in cash for all of the outstanding shares of Baccini.

"This acquisition is a key step in our goal to become the leading equipment supplier to the solar industry," said Mike Splinter, president and CEO of Applied Materials. "With our broad portfolio of advanced solar cell manufacturing technologies, we plan to reduce the production costs for both crystalline silicon cell and thin film modules, while also decreasing the grams-per-watt usage of silicon material. As a result, we expect to help drive down the cost of solar electricity to be competitive with conventional electricity sources and to accelerate the rate of adoption of solar technology for commercial and residential applications."

Baccini will be integrated within Applied's Solar Business Group, headed by vice president Charles Gay. Applied's portfolio of c-Si cell production technologies includes precision wafering, passivation layer deposition with its ATON system, automated wafer handling capabilities, and back-end-of-the-line processes such as metallization (screen printing), laser-based isolation, test and sorting.

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