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How to turn a large fortune into a small one: Miasole acquired for $30 million

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  • How to turn a large fortune into a small one: Miasole acquired for $30 million

    http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2012/0...finds-a-buyer/

    China’s largest privately owned provider of renewable power has agreed to buy Santa Clara solar company MiaSole for $30 million, according to documents sent to Miasole shareholders this week. The Chronicle obtained a copy of the documents Friday.
    MiaSole, which makes thin-film solar panels, will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Hanergy Holding Group of Beijing. The deal is expected to close on Oct. 31, 2012.
    Former MiaSole CEO David Pearce walks the factory floor in 2007.

    MiaSole declined to comment on Friday. But a source familiar with the sale said it would add jobs here in the U.S. The agreement between Hanergy and MiaSole stipulates that no employees will be laid off in the 12 months following the deal’s closing date.
    Thin-film companies, whose solar cells use materials other than silicon, have suffered more than most solar manufacturers in the last few years. Once considered the best bet for cheap solar power, they’ve seen their sales undercut by the flood of cheap silicon-based cells pouring from new factories in Asia, particularly China.
    MiaSole announced in early August that it would reorganize, in an effort to cut costs. Although the privately held company claims a commercial pipeline bigger than 1 gigawatt, MiaSole decided to cut its manufacturing workforce. Company CEO John Carrington said at the time that the move would help the company find a “partner” for future growth.
    “I am confident based on current discussions we will finalize a partnership within the next 60-90 days,” he said in an Aug. 7 press release.
    Hanergy, meanwhile, has already shown an interest in thin film. The company agreed in June to buy Solibro, the thin-film subsidiary of Germany’s Q.CELLS Group.
    Hanergy’s American operations are based in Burlingame.
    Miasole has taken in over $500 million in VC funding, as well as $100 million plus in government tax credits:

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...using-All-PVD/

    The firm has raised in the neighborhood of $500 million in VC funding since its founding in 2004. MiaSolé raised most of a $125 million round F in February{2011} at a pre-money valuation of $550 million in 2011.
    Miasole closed a $55M round just in May 2012:

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...or-CIGS-Solar/

    I spoke with MiaSolé's new CEO, John Carrington.

    Carrington said the original raise was intended to be $40 million but was eventually "oversubscribed" at $55 million. The funding "primarily came from insiders," according to the CEO.

    Note the same article talks about Nanosolar's valuation getting hammered in a fundraising round.

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/c...233-green.html

    "We believe the award is a reflection of the Department of Energy's confidence in MiaSolé's technology and business model," said CEO Joseph Laia when the $100-plus million tax credit was announced, adding that "we look forward to ramping our manufacturing capacity and creating jobs aided by these funds."
    As I noted before - the entire solar industry seemed to be dependent on subsidies. It appears we've hit 'peak solar investment speculation'.
    Last edited by c1ue; 09-29-12, 10:46 AM.

  • #2
    Re: How to turn a large fortune into a small one: Miasole acquired for $30 million

    As I noted before - the entire solar industry seemed to be dependent on subsidies. It appears we've hit 'peak solar investment speculation'.
    So do I understand that we are looking at an artificially depressed market for solar panels and that they will soon shoot up in price as everybody discovers that there is no actual market for them?

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    • #3
      Re: How to turn a large fortune into a small one: Miasole acquired for $30 million

      Originally posted by GEC
      So do I understand that we are looking at an artificially depressed market for solar panels and that they will soon shoot up in price as everybody discovers that there is no actual market for them?
      No, it is that the economics of solar PV at this point in time are very poor once the subsidies are removed.

      There is still a market for them - but it will remain small unless and until solar PV becomes competitive in its own right.

      Other notes: whatever Miasole's technology may have been, the gigantic VC and tax credit investment into Miasole was mostly for the purpose of a production line, not R & D.

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