Applied Materials enters solar gear market

In a major move into the solar-cell and other equipment markets, Applied Materials Inc. on Thursday (May 4) announced a definitive agreement to acquire Applied Films Corp. for $464 million in cash.

With the surprising acquisition of Applied Films (Longmont, Colo.), chip-equipment giant Applied Materials (Santa Calif.) expands its product portfolio. Applied Films is a supplier of thin-film deposition equipment used in the manufacturing of flat-panel displays, solar cells, flexible electronics and energy-efficient glass.

Applied Materials, the world’s largest chip-equipment vendor, is a major player in the flat-panel display tool arena, but the company has not participated in the solar sector. However, Applied Materials is quietly working on its own, internally-developed machines for solar-cell applications, according to analysts.

Applied Films' physical vapor deposition (PVD) tools are said to be complementary with Applied Materials' existing machines for flat-panel displays. Applied Materials is a supplier of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and test equipment for manufacturing the display's transistor layer, while Applied Films is a recognized leader in the production of display color filter systems and has developed significant expertise in large area PVD.

"The acquisition of Applied Films expands our flat-panel business to offer color filter products, and opens the fast-growing solar market for us," said Mike Splinter, president and CEO of Applied Materials, in a statement.

"In solar cell manufacturing, we expect to help customers deliver higher levels of output at lower production cost — a critical step to making alternative forms of clean energy more available and affordable,” said Mark Pinto, senior vice president and chief technical officer of Applied Materials, in the same statement.

Read the entire news on the source link below.

600450 Applied Materials enters solar gear market
Date: 9 May 2006

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