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Oil report

Portuguese group to buy Qimonda solar unit-report

LISBON, June 5 (Reuters) - A group of Portuguese companies jointly with Angolan bank BPA are finalising the purchase of a solar cell plant from insolvent German memory chip-maker Qimonda QMNDQ.PK, Diario Economico newspaper said on Friday.

It said the consortium included Energias de Portugal EDP.LS -- the country's largest utility -- Visabeira conglomerate and construction firm DST, as well as BES BES.LS and Millennium BCP BCP.LS banks. They would buy a 51 percent stake in the recently-built Qimonda Solar plant in Portugal.

An EDP spokesman declined to comment and officials at other companies mentioned were not immediately available.

Diario Economico said the deal may be sealed as early as Friday. BPA bank is owned by Angola’s state-run oil company Sonangol.

The other 49 percent of Qimonda Solar will remain in the hands of Germany's CentroSolar C3OG.DE, which will buy half of the plant's production.

The plant, which has yet to start production after an estimated initial investment of some 70 million euros, will employ 150 people and has a capacity to produce up to 100 megawatts in photovoltaic cells used in solar panels.

The newspaper said that with the new investors, the capacity would be boosted over time and a solar panel production line would be added, with the number of employees rising to 450.

In April, Qimonda Portugal laid off 800 employees for six months and terminated hundreds of temporary contracts. It kept just 200 staff to maintain the chip-making plant at Vila do Conde in northern Portugal while the company is desperately looking for an investor to avoid liquidation.

Qimonda Portugal, which started the year with over 1,600 workers, suspended output at the end of March. (Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by David Cowell)

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