MEMC Electronic Snaps Up Solaicx For $76M

ST. PETERS, Mo. (AP) -- Solar industry company MEMC Electronic Materials said Monday that it will buy silicon wafer company Solaicx for about $76 million in cash.

Solaicx's crystal growth manufacturing technology produces monocrystalline silicon wafers for the photovoltaic solar industry.

The technology allows for high-volume crystal growth compared with the silicon ingots produced in the traditional precision semiconductor manufacturing process. It allows solar cell manufacturers to create high efficiency cells with competitive silicon costs, MEMC said.

MEMC, which makes wafers for computer chips and silicon for solar cells and is based in St. Peters, will pay $66 million to the existing owners of Solaicx plus an additional amount equal to what has been recently invested in the company, estimated to be $10 million. Should Solaicx meet certain performance targets in 2010 and 2011, Solaicx owners can received an additional $27.6 million in cash and MEMC stock.

Solaicx is based in Santa Clara, Calif. It has about 80 employees and a production facility in Portland, Ore.

The deal is expected to close by June 30.

MEMC shares rose 6 cents to $11.07 in morning trading.

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