SunPower to spin off intl manufacturing ops

Testing of SunPower solar panels. Source: SunPower Corp.

November 11 (Renewables Now) - SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) today announced a plan to separate its international solar cell and panel manufacturing activities into a new company that will be headquartered in Singapore and listed on Nasdaq.

The move comes hand in hand with a USD-298-million (EUR 270m) equity investment in the new company, called Maxeon Solar Technologies, by Chinese silicon wafers supplier Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co Ltd (SHE:002129), or TZS, which is a long-term partner of SunPower. The investment will help finance the scale-up of Maxeon 5 production capacity, the announcement says.

The separation will be executed through a tax-free spin-off to SunPower shareholders of all of the Maxeon Solar shares held by SunPower. The existing shareholders of the US solar power company will own a combined stake of 71.152% in Maxeon Solar. TZS, in turn, will hold 28.848% of the diluted ordinary shares.

Completion of those transactions is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020.

Following the separation of Maxeon Solar, SunPower will focus on being a North American distributed generation, storage and energy services company, but it will also keep operating the Hillsboro Performance Series module assembly facility in the state of Oregon.

On the other hand, Maxeon Solar will engage in the production and marketing of solar panels overseas. It will own and operate solar cell and module factories located in France, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines, and will also maintain its research and development (R&D), marketing and sales footprint outside of the US and Canada. It will market its modules under the SunPower brand into the global marketplace and into the US and Canada via a multi-year exclusive supply agreement. In addition, the firm will keep the 20% stake in the Performance Series manufacturing joint venture called Huansheng Photovoltaic [Jiangsu] Company Ltd.

While Tom Werner continues as the chief executive and chairman of the board of Silicon Valley-based SunPower, Jeff Waters will lead Maxeon Solar as its CEO. Currently, Waters serves as CEO of SunPower's Technologies business unit.

The plan has the backing of Total SA (EPA:FP), which is currently the main shareholder of SunPower. Patrick Pouyanne, the CEO of the French energy major, stated that the group plans to remain a shareholder of both SunPower and Maxeon Solar.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.906)

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