Siemens pulls plug on last solar energy business

German industrial conglomerate Siemens (SIEGn.DE) is shutting down the last of its solar energy businesses after it failed to find a buyer, the company said on Monday.

Confirming a report in German newspaper Handelsblatt, a spokesman for Siemens said the group would close Solel by early next year. The Israeli business has accumulated losses of around 1 billion euros ($1.33 billion) since Siemens bought it in 2009, including a write-off of the entire purchase price.

Siemens has spent seven months trying to sell Solel, which makes components used in solar-thermal power stations. Some 280 employees will be affected by the closure, most of them in Israel.

The cost will run into the mid-double digit millions of euros, according to Siemens.

Once a promising new field with strong growth rates, the solar energy industry is in sharp decline in Germany as Chinese manufacturers flood the global market with cheaper panels and components.

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