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Posted: April 10, 2009
Solar Thin Films Acquires Hungarian-based BudaSolar Technologies
(Nanowerk News) Solar Thin Films, Inc. has announced that it and its subsidiary, KRAFT Elektronikai Zrt. of Budapest, Hungary, have agreed to acquire BudaSolar Technologies Co. Ltd., also of Budapest, Hungary, in a transaction that management believes will bring new process expertise to the combined company, as well as an enhanced customer pipeline.
"In addition to bringing a highly qualified team of engineers and technicians together, we are thrilled to be working together again with Dr. Istvan Krafcsik, who, with Kraft's Dr. Laszlo Farkas, co-founded Kraft over a decade ago. Dr. Krafcsik is a well regarded scientist with a long background in the photovoltaics industry, who together with a world-class development team located inside the Central Research Institute for Physics campus in Budapest, has already been able to bring improvements to our existing offering."
Subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions, Kraft will acquire 100% of the share capital of BudaSolar and will issue to the BudaSolar Stockholders 49% of the share capital of Kraft. As a result, the Company will own 51% of Kraft and our 51% owned Kraft subsidiary will, in turn, own 100% of the share capital of BudaSolar. The closing is scheduled to occur as soon as practicable, but in any event by April 30, 2009. However, there can be no assurances that the share exchange will be consummated.
In addition, Kraft entered into five year employment agreements with each of Dr. Istvan Krafcsik and Attila Horvath as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Kraft and its BudaSolar subsidiary, respectively.
Today, Solar Thin Films also announced that Peter Lewis will step down as CEO of the company to become Group Vice President, Equipment and Thin Films Division, so that he can better focus on the growing business opportunity afforded by Kraft's proposed acquisition of BudaSolar. Mr. Lewis, whose focus since joining the company in June of 2007 has been to strengthen the company's thin film offering and improve its customer pipeline, will represent Solar Thin Films on the board of directors of the new combined company and will help lead an expanded worldwide marketing effort.
"We are very happy to bring together two complementary teams, both with significant expertise in equipment and processes associated with the production and installation of 'turnkey' amorphous silicon lines using a process that yields among the lowest cost solar modules available today world-wide," said Bob Rubin of Solar Thin Films. "To date, our collaboration has allowed us to offer a broader product line to prospective customers as a result of the joint Kraft/BudaSolar effort underway since last September and we are confident that the combined pipeline and marketing effort will yield positive results in the near future."
"I am proud of the progress we have made at Kraft to migrate from an equipment supplier to a supplier of higher margin 'turnkey' amorphous silicon manufacturing lines," noted Mr. Lewis. "Over the past 18 months, we have dramatically improved our product offering and quality assurance programs and have redirected our marketing effort at closing complete 'turnkey' lines as evidenced by our recent contract with Grupo Unisolar of Bejar Spain. Upon the consummation of the share exchange and the combination of the Kraft and BudaSolar teams, we intend to focus our future efforts on new product introductions and significantly expanding our sales pipeline."
As part of the reorganization, Bob Rubin, Chairman, will also assume the responsibility of CEO, and will focus on expanding the solar businesses of Solar Thin Films beyond its Kraft and Solar Thin Power subsidiaries. Mr. Rubin noted, "I look forward to continuing my effort to expand the scope of Solar Thin Film's businesses including first the prospective acquisition of Algatec, maker of metallurgical crystalline modules, and also our effort at ST Power to utilize both our thin film and soon metallurgical technology to build a power projects division."
This press release is not a complete description of the amended and restated stock exchange agreement to acquire BudaSolar Technologies Co. Ltd. and reorganization of management. For additional information, a copy of the agreement and related transaction documents can be found in Solar Thin Film's Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 7, 2009.