Thursday, March 17, 2011

First Solar Shopping for a Private CIGS Company? (FSLR)

The stock is down $1.10 at $153.98.
I could have sworn they'd do CIGS themselves, links below.
From Greentech:
First Solar Rumors: Buying a VC-Funded CIGS Firm?
 First Solar acquiring CIGS thin film startup HelioVolt? 
From the unsubstantiated rumor department: I heard from a reputable source that First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) is in negotiations to buy CIGS thin-film aspirant HelioVolt.
We recently reported that HelioVolt was for sale and we offered some perspective on HelioVolt investor NEA's viewpoint from one of its board members, Scott Sandell.
Let me emphasize that First Solar would not comment on the rumors.  I did receive a rather soft "No comment" from HelioVolt when I inquired.
There are a few reasons why this would make sense:
  • If the price is right and the investors are willing to just get their investment of $150 million back, then this is hardly dilutive given First Solar's $13.32 billion market cap.
  • First Solar has long been looking for a path to higher efficiency, and HelioVolt's CIGS technology platform might be a good match -- given its monolithic-on-glass nature.
  • HelioVolt's current CEO, Jim Flanary, was the COO of First Solar a few years ago.
There are also some reasons why it doesn't make sense:
  • First Solar has had its own ongoing secret CIGS development effort in Silicon Valley and acquiring HelioVolt would seem to indicate that not a lot of commercial progress has been made there.
See also:

A Pivotal Year For Thin-Film Solar Companies (FSLR; GE)
Solar: Get on Board the CIGS Love Train (FSLR; ASTI; DSTI) Miasole; Nanosolar 

"Metrics for Thin Film Solar CIGS Company Comparisons" (FSLR; ASTI; DSTI) Miasole; Nanosolar
Watch Out First Solar: "GE outlines R&D efforts with CdTe thin-film technology" (FSLR; GE)
Was Solyndra the Reason Goldman Sachs Threw First Solar Under the Bus? (FSLR; GS; SPWRA) Goldman Sachs and the Solar Land Rush (FSLR; GS)

We've been following this stuff for a while.