Siemens Buys Solel For $418 Million

The purchase of the solar power company will enable Siemens to provide most key components for thermal solar plants.

Siemens AG is making another big investment in solar power, as the engineering conglomerate agreed to purchase Solel Solar Systems for about $418 million.

Solel operates solar thermal fields for producing electricity, and it also sells solar receivers and constructs solar fields. The company posted nearly $90 million in revenue in the first half of the year, and Siemens reportedly outbid Alstom and Areva to acquire Solel. The deal could eventually enable Siemens to offer the key components for trough power plants because it already provides steam turbine engines for solar thermal plants. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

"With the acquisition of Solel, Siemens can now strengthen its market position in the promising business of solar thermal power plants," said Siemens president and CEO Peter Loscher, in a statement. "We can thus further expand our extensive environmental portfolio -- and, as already announced, we will become even greener."

Siemens said it expects the solar energy market to grow by more than 20% per year, and it has been investing accordingly. The company purchased 28% of Archimede Solar Energy in March, and also recently invested about $15 million in the solar energy company Arava Power.

The move comes as other sectors of Siemens' portfolio are not performing well due to the global economic recession. The company's joint venture with Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, has been struggling, and it was a drain on Nokia's bottom line for the third quarter. The world's largest cell phone maker wrote down the value of the wireless networks venture by $1.35 billion.

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