Price of solar group surges at stock market debut

5th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 October 2005, FRANKFURT - Stock in Q-Cells, the eastern German company that makes silicon-based high-efficiency solar cells, soared to EUR 49 Wednesday in the first stock-exchange trading after a closely watched initial public offering.

5 October 2005

FRANKFURT - Stock in Q-Cells, the eastern German company that makes silicon-based high-efficiency solar cells, soared to EUR 49 Wednesday in the first stock-exchange trading after a closely watched initial public offering.

The company, which says it is hiring one to two new staff every day, had earlier announced a take-up price of EUR 38 per share after book-building in the issue of 6.66 million shares. That was at the top of the advertised EUR 35-38 price range.

The issue raised EUR 242 million to expand production capacity and finance advance orders of silicon for the high-tech company. The stock gained despite a falling overall stock market.

The company makes silicon-wafer photovoltaic cells with an edge length of up to 210 millimetres. The bigger size makes them more efficient and the company says it has other technology in the pipeline to make solar power cheaper.

Q-Cells says it is set to become the biggest employer by the end of the year in Bitterfeld, the former heart of the chemical industry in communist East Germany. Last week another eastern German solar technology company, ErSol, staged a successful stock offering.

The solar energy boom has been helped along by German federal subsidies for consumers who opt for renewable energy. While wind- turbine electricity has led the way, photovoltaics is not far behind.

In March, Hamburg-based solar equipment supplier Conergy staged an IPO with an offer price of EUR 54. The stock is now just under EUR 100.

With oil prices soaring and the Kyoto treaty on climate change in place, the world solar power industry is forecast to grow by between 25 and 30 per cent annually.

Solar stocks have surged in the past year on the back of growing optimism that governments around the world will increase support for renewable energy.

Last year the world's largest solar power station was officially put on stream in the eastern German town of Espenhain with an output equating to the electricity needs of some 1,800 households.

The German solar industry has said it is determined to become the sector's world leader and to keep up research so that it does not lose its technology lead to rivals in the United States or Asia.

There were more solar power plants installed in Germany last year than anywhere else in the world.

Germany's solar power industry has also been underpinned by the country's Renewable Energy Law (EEG) which requires electric power companies to purchase the entire electricity output produced by solar stations at prices well above those from conventional power plants.

DPA

Subject: German news

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