BP Amoco creates world’s biggest solar company

BP Amoco is to buy the 50 per cent stake it did not already own in Solarex, one of the world's leading solar companies in the US, for $45 million.

The buyout of what was previously a 50:50 joint venture between Amoco and Enron will create the largest solar company in the world.

The integrated company will be called BP Solarex and will build on the current business activities of Solarex and BP Solar. It will have annual revenues of more than $150 million, representing a 20 per cent share of the global market. It will have manufacturing operations in four countries – the USA, Spain, Australia and India, producing around 30 megawatts of solar products each year.

BP Solarex will have prime positions in leading-edge solar technology, most notably the new generation of thin films, as well as offering the world’s broadest product range in crystalline silicon.

BP Amoco chief executive Sir John Browne said: “This acquisition is another significant step towards our target of building a $1 billion solar business over the next decade.”

BP Amoco recently unveiled plans to make cleaner, greener fuels available in more than 40 of the world’s major cities most troubled by pollution and smog. It has also targeted a 10 per cent reduction from a 1990 baseline in greenhouse gas emissions from BP Amoco’s own operations by the year 2010.

The integrated BP Solarex company will be headquartered in Frederick, Maryland, USA. It will be headed by Harry Shimp, who was recently appointed president and chief executive of Solarex, and its chairman will be Steve Gates, executive vice president and chief of staff of BP Amoco.

The acquisition from Enron, which is subject to a number of regulatory and other approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of April.

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