USI reported to open photovoltaic factory in Malaysia
Dec 31, 2007
USI Corp., a leading Taiwanese petrochemical manufacturer, preliminarily decided to open its first poly crystalline silicon factory in Malaysia after three months of assessment, according to the Taiwan-headquartered Economic Daily News.
The company was reported for the first time to conclude the location of the factory since it announced the plan this September to open a venture at cost of NT$12 billion (US$363 million at US$1:NT$33) to make the materials for solar cells. The venture is christened Universal Semiconductor Corp. (USC).
According to the daily news, a sister publication of CENS, the company plans to build the factory on a 100-hectare land and start volume production at the factory in late 2008 at earliest.
In response to the news report, USI executives have kept low profile stance and declined to make comment.
Taiwanese petrochemical insiders pointed out that Malaysia is an ideal location for such an investment since natural resources are abundant and water supply and electrical power are sufficient there. Most of all, strong competitors are still absent there.
The poly crystalline silicon venture will likely become the petrochemical manufacturer's first operation in Malaysia although it already has four publicly held subsidiaries.
The daily news pointed out that the company's policymakers are much confident of the plan to begin volume production at the poly crystalline silicon factory in 2008.
Lee Chang Yung Chemical Industry Corp. is another Taiwanese petrochemical manufacturer with photovoltaic investment plan, but the company has eventually decided to open its factory in Taiwan although it originally planned to open the factory overseas. The company is lobbying the government to offer the investment tax incentives and other advantageous conditions.
Both USI and Lee Chang Yung hope their photovoltaic factories will enter into volume productions by 2010. However, their Taiwanese industrial peers including the heavyweight China Petroleum Corp. (CPC) and Formosa Plastics Corp. (FPC) believe the timing for investment in the solar-energy business is when the photovoltaic conversion ratio is further improved and the cost of solar power is further reduced.
According to the government-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), there were 15 solar-energy manufacturers in Taiwan generating revenues of NT$7 billion (US$212 million) in 2005. Last year, eight new entrants came onboard, helping boost the annual revenues to NT$21.2 billion (US$642 million). So far this year, the Taiwan industry has seen 18 newcomers, who are expected to push revenue to NT$40 billion (US$1.2 billion). Taiwan's solar-energy output capacity will likely approach two gigawatts of solar power in 2008, suggesting that the Taiwan industry is taking off.
source & copyright: CENS