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SMA Solar Buys Majority Stake in Chinese Inverter Maker

SMA Solar Technology AG, Germany’s biggest solar company by market value, agreed to buy a majority stake in Jiangsu Zeversolar New Energy Co. to gain access to the Chinese market.

SMA Solar will get 72.5 percent of the inverter maker in a deal that gives Zeversolar an enterprise value of 319 million yuan ($51 million), Niestetal-based SMA said in a statement. The agreement is subject to Chinese regulatory approval.

``The acquisition is absolutely necessary as all mature markets are declining,'' Pierre-Pascal Urbon, chief executive officer of SMA Solar, said today in a telephone interview.

Inverters convert the variable direct-current output of solar panels into an alternating current for feeding into the grid. China is forecast to be the world’s biggest market for the technology next year, while business in Europe is declining after governments from Germany to Spain curbed subsidies for renewable power.

China allocated 13 billion yuan in solar subsidies this year, according to Xinhua News Agency.

China has a target to operate 21 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic power by 2015 as it pursues a goal to cut carbon emissions by 17 percent per unit of gross domestic product. That compares with 3 gigawatts of capacity at the end of last year, European Photovoltaic Industry Association data show.

“It is possible that we will see 40 gigawatts by 2015 as China has in the past beat its targets,” Urbon said.

China is forecast to leapfrog Germany to become the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic market next year, with as much as 7.3 gigawatts of new installations, according to London-based researcher Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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