February 7, 2012 / 1:45 PM / 7 years ago

Germany's Centrotherm signs Saudi solar deal

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Saudi-based IDEA Polysilicon Co. has signed an agreement for Germany’s Centrotherm Photovoltaics, the world’s No.2 maker of solar equipment, to help it build a polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia.

IDEA Polysilicon, a new company set up by investors in the Gulf to produce the key solar power panel making material, did not disclose the value of the contract for Centrotherm to provide know-how and engineering for the plant in Yanbu.

The project, which is expected to cost more than 4 billion Saudi riyals ($1.1 billion), could produce up to 10,000 tonnes per year of polysilicon, IDEA said in a statement on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its energy resources by building solar and nuclear power plants to reduce its use of oil. Power demand in the Saudi kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter, is growing at around 8 percent a year.

Shares in Centrotherm were up 1 percent, leading Frankfurt’s technology index and outperforming a 0.7-percent drop in the OekoDAX index of Germany’s largest renewable stocks.

“Along with the Algerian contract ... this may be the second major turnkey deal for Centrotherm that is awaiting order status,” WestLB analyst Katharina Cholewa said, raising Centrotherm’s price target to 14.7 euros from 13.8 euros.

Centrotherm last year signed an agreement as part of a consortium to build a solar module factory in Algeria, an order worth a total 290 million euros ($379 million).

($1 = 3.7502 Saudi riyals)($1 = 0.7646 euros)

Reporting by Reem Shamseddine and Christoph Steitz, editing by Daniel Fineren and Will Waterman

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