SunPower splits into two companies after investment to scale up Maxeon 5 solar panels

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SunPower plans to separate into two independent (but aligned) publicly-traded companies – SunPower and Maxeon Solar Technologies. Each company will focus on distinct offerings built on extensive experience across the solar value chain: SunPower will continue as the distributed generation, storage and energy services company. Newly-formed Maxeon Solar will be the manufacturer and marketer of premium solar panels.

“We believe that the solar industry is entering a period of extended growth where success will be driven by value chain specialization, technology innovation and economies of scale,” said Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower. “This new structure and investment will create two focused businesses, each with unique expertise to excel in their part of the value chain.”

Tom Werner will continue as CEO and chairman of the board of SunPower and the company will maintain its corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley (Calif.), as well as its employee and economic investment footprint across the U.S. and Canada, and its large, exclusive dealer network. Concurrent with the transaction, an equity investment of $298 million will be made in Maxeon Solar by long-time partner Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (TZS), a premier global supplier of silicon wafers, to help finance the scale‐up of Maxeon® 5 production capacity.

At the time of the separation, SunPower and Maxeon Solar will have entered into a multi-year exclusive supply agreement covering sales within the U.S. and Canada of products manufactured by Maxeon Solar. Under the new structure, SunPower will continue to develop its dealer network, which represents the largest residential and light commercial franchise in the industry.

The two companies will cooperate to develop and commercialize next generation solar panel technologies, with early stage research conducted by SunPower’s Silicon Valley-based research and development group, and deployment-focused innovation and scale-up carried out by Maxeon Solar.

New with Maxeon Solar

Jeff Waters, currently chief executive officer of SunPower’s Technologies business unit, has been named Maxeon Solar’s CEO. Maxeon Solar has been incorporated and will be headquartered in Singapore and its ordinary shares are expected to be traded on NASDAQ. Maxeon Solar will own and operate solar cell and panel manufacturing facilities located in France, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines. It will also maintain its R&D, marketing and sales footprint outside of the U.S. and Canada.

It will market its high-efficiency solar panels under the SunPower brand into the global marketplace, and into the U.S. and Canada via a multi-year exclusive supply agreement to be entered into with SunPower at the time of separation. Maxeon Solar will maintain 20 percent ownership of the Performance Series manufacturing joint venture (Huansheng Photovoltaic [Jiangsu] Company, Ltd.) and will continue to market those panels globally.

The separation is expected to occur through a spin‐off of all of the shares of Maxeon Solar held by SunPower to SunPower shareholders, followed by the TZS investment. It is intended to be tax-free to SunPower shareholders. After the completion of the transactions, TZS will own approximately 28.848 percent of the diluted ordinary shares of Maxeon Solar with approximately 71.152 percent will be owned by SunPower shareholders, as of the record date of the spin-off. SunPower expects to complete the separation and Maxeon Solar capital injection in the second quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction of various closing conditions.

SunPower’s Board of Directors and a special committee of independent directors unanimously approved this transaction.

— Solar Builder magazine


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