Korean firm wants out of wafer slicing venture with Lopez groupBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Korean solar wafer giant Nexolon Co. Ltd. has asked the Lopez group to buy out its 30 percent stake in their water slicing joint venture First Philec Nexolon Corp. (FPNC) amid a partnership dispute that has been brought to international arbitration.
FPNC and parent firm First PV Ventures Corp. (FPV) received a notice of supply contract termination as well as a purported exercise by Nexolon of a put option premised on an alleged contract breach by FPNC.
The Lopezes, who own 70-percent of this disputed venture, have already disputed this notice of breach before the International Chamber of Commerce. Both FPV and Nexolon have alleged contract violations in this water slicing venture and thus filed the case for ICC resolution.
Under such put option, Nexolon seeks to enforce the sale of all of its shares in FPNC to FPV, said a disclosure by First Philippine Holdings Corp., parent firm of manufacturing firm First Philippine Electric Corp., which in turn owns FPV.
Under the joint venture agreement between FPV and Nexolon, the put option arises as a consequence of a termination of the supply agreement and is available to the non-breaching party.
“FPNC has already disputed Nexolon’s notice of breach from which the present notice of termination arises,” the disclosure said, adding that this notice of breach was already included in the arbitration proceedings instituted by both FPV and FPNC against Nexolon.
FPNC has itself sent a notice of breach to Nexolon.
“Both FPV and FPNC are of the position that Nexolon’s notice of breach, and consequently Nexolon’s notice of termination, are without basis. Consequently, Nexolon has no grounds to invoke the put option. The foregoing matters will have to be resolved in the arbitration,” the FPH disclosure said.
FPNC is a joint venture company established by FPV and Nexolon to slice silicon wafers for the Korean firm.
The $100-million joint venture was put up only last year for the purpose of establishing an initial 400-megawatt solar wafer-slicing plant in the Philippines. The newly constructed FPNC plant was inaugurated December last year in First Philippine Industrial Park in Tanauan, Batangas. The new plant has capabilities to slice for both the monocrystalline and multicrytalline segment.
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