Manz exits thin-film solar technology

Reutlingen, Germany-based production equipment manufacturer Manz AG is »not undertaking any further technological developments in CIGS thin-film solar technology« and has »discontinued market development« in this area. The company made the announcement after finally declaring an end to the CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) module production project of Chongqing Shenhua Thin Film Solar Technology Co. Ltd. in China, which it had been pursuing since 2017.
In January 2017, Manz, until then one of the world’s most important suppliers of CIGS production technology, had announced a strategic cooperation with Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd. and Shenhua Group Co. Ltd. At that time, an order volume of €263 million ($269 million) had been agreed for a »CIGSfab« with an annual capacity of 306 megawatts and a research line with 44 megawatts. For this purpose, Manz had established two joint ventures with its business partners and sold its CIGS research company (Manz CIGS Technology GmbH) to one of these joint ventures.
The completion of the production line, originally announced for 2018, had been continually delayed and was interrupted in December 2020, also with reference to the COVID 19 pandemic. Manz had received around €175 million ($179 million) in payments by then, according to the company, but had provided services with a total value of €198 million. Until now, the company had »assumed that the customer would fulfill the associated contractually outstanding payments.« However, »contrary to expectations«, no agreement was reached on this. Manz ist therefore now »pursuing the goal of asserting its claims through the courts.«
As a result of this decision as well as factors affecting other business segments, the Managing Board intends to correct the forecast for the current fiscal year; this is to be presented on August 4 with the report for the first half of the year. The 2021 financial year had already been characterized by good results, particularly in production technology for batteries (Energy storage segment), but negative effects from the CIGS segment. After the final discontinuation of this business unit, the company announced to »consistently focus our efforts on the implementation of our growth strategy in the automotive and electromobility, battery manufacturing, electronics, energy, and medical technology industries.«

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