Bosch ends photovoltaics activities

Competitiveness is unattainable--- Sale or closure of all units--- Purchaser for aleo solar AG sought

Stuttgart/Arnstadt – Bosch is to discontinue its activities in crystalline photovoltaics. Bosch's manufacture of ingots, wafers, cells, and modules will be ceased at beginning of 2014. As far as possible, individual units are to be sold quickly. All development and marketing activities are likewise to be ended. The module plant in Vénissieux, France, is to be sold. Plans to construct a manufacturing facility in Malaysia will be ended. Bosch plans to sell its shares in aleo solar AG. Bosch Solar CISTech GmbH in Brandenburg, Germany, will be continued – as before – as a development center for thin-film technology. Its future alignment will be decided at a later date.

Failure to achieve competitiveness

Over the past years, Bosch Solar Energy has tried unsuccessfully to achieve a competitive position. Due to global overcapacity, which has since become huge, nearly the entire industry is sustaining heavy losses. Dr. Stefan Hartung, the chairman of the Bosch Solar Energy AG supervisory board and member of the Robert Bosch GmbH management board responsible for the Energy and Building Technology business sector, sums up the situation as follows: "Despite extensive measures to reduce manufacturing cost over the past year, we were unable to offset the drop in prices, which was as much as 40 percent." As announced in January 2013, the losses of the Solar Energy division came to some one billion euros last year. The division currently employs some 3,000 associates, roughly 850 of them at aleo solar AG and some 150 at CISTech.

All possible alternatives examined

"Over recent months, Bosch has comprehensively examined every aspect of its solar business. We have considered the latest technological advances, cost-reduction potential, and strategic alignment. And there have also been talks with potential partners. However, none of these possibilities resulted in a solution for the Solar Energy division that would be economically viable over the long term. We deeply regret this," said Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the Bosch board of management. Stefan Hartung added: "We know full well that associates face a difficult time. Together with the employee representatives, we will search for solutions that are as acceptable as possible. We appreciate the hard work done by our Solar Energy associates. Over the past year, our associates have fought hard for the future of their division. For this, we owe them our thanks. Nonetheless, our joint efforts to achieve long-term economic stability failed to bear fruit."

Next steps

Effective April 1, 2013, the supervisory board of Bosch Solar Energy AG has appointed Dr. Steffen Haack chairman of the management board, with responsibility for sales and technology. In addition, Franc Gruber has been appointed the management board member responsible for commercial affairs. Haack has been the management board member responsible for sales since August 1, 2012. Gruber has worked for Bosch in various executive commercial functions within and outside Germany since January 1, 2000, most recently in the corporate controlling department.

The present chairman of the board of management of Bosch Solar Energy AG, Holger von Hebel, and the management board members Dr. Volker Nadenau and Jürgen Pressl will resign from the company board of management effective March 31, 2013.

Commenting on these changes, Stefan Hartung said: "In Steffen Haack and Franc Gruber, we have experienced board members who will initiate the steps that are now necessary and see them through to completion. We would like to thank Holger von Hebel, Volker Nadenau, and Jürgen Pressl for their dedication."

-Interview with Mr. Fehrenbach and Mr. Denner in the "Bosch-Zünder"
(the interview is published in today's edition of the associate newspaper
"BoschZünderOnline". Please feel free to publish it elsewhere)

-Solar modules with 60 photovoltaic cells each
-Manufacturing (photovoltaic cells): Using output testing to classify the cells

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services, active in the fields of automotive technology, energy and building technology, industrial technology, and consumer goods. According to preliminary figures, more than 306,000 associates generated sales of 52.3 billion euros in 2012. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.5 billion euros for research and development in 2012, and applied for over 4,700 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group's products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is "Invented for life."

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as "Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering." The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust.

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