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REC Invests $2.5 Billion In Solar Panel Plant

Renewable Energy Corporation announced plans to invest in a new plant in Singapore slated to start production of solar wafers, cells and modules in 2010.

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- The Renewable Energy Corporation ASA announced plans Wednesday to invest 13 billion kroner (US$2.5 billion) in a new plant in Singapore to produce solar panel components.

The Oslo-based company, often called REC, said the plant is slated to start production of solar wafers, cells and modules in 2010, and is expected to generate annual revenues of up to 11 billion kroner (US$2.1 billion) by 2012, a company statement said.

''This investment supports REC's position as a leading provider of highly competitive solar energy solutions, and in achieving our main corporate goals of reducing costs and securing profitable growth,'' said Erik Thorsen, company president and chief executive.

REC also announced plans for a 400 million kroner (US$77.7 million) expansion and upgrade of its Heroeya wafer plant in Norway, and said that will be completed by the end of 2009.

The group's shares rose nearly 4 percent to 153.25 kroner (US$29.76) in morning trading on the Oslo stock exchange after the announcement.

REC said the Asian plant, based on multicrystalline solar technology, is the first of several phases envisioned in Singapore. The company said it had already secured contracts for the raw materials needed, and has organized financing through its own cash flow and loans.

''Our entry into Singapore ensures continued revenue growth beyond the significant growth to come from all the ongoing capacity expansions across all REC's business activities,'' said Thorsen.

The company was founded in 1996 under the name Fornybar Energi AS, which was changed to its current name in 2000. The group has about 1,800 staff, and currently operates in Norway, the United States, South Africa and Sweden.

Its revenues were 6.6 billion kroner (US$1.28 billion) for 2007, a more than 50 percent increase from a year earlier.

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