Siberia | Industry, manufacturing | Finance, business
With global prices at record low, Russia determined to buttress Siberian poly-Si effort
7 Mar '13
The Russian Government is seeking ways to shore up the Siberian assets of Nitol, a large Russian group of companies, which had to mothball production after global polysilicon prices plummeted, news agency RIA Novosti reports citing Sergei Eroshchenko, the Governor of the Irkutsk region in Siberia where the Nitol factories operate.
Following a call from the Kremlin, an array of government-owned financial entities, including such sizable banks as Sberbank, Eurasian Bank of Development and VEB Bank, and Rusnano, Russia’s nanotech giant, now stand to attention, working out policy in bailing out the ailing company.
Nitol Group is a vertically integrated company headquartered in Moscow; it is part of the international Nitol Solar group of companies. Nitol undertook a few years ago to put together in the Irkutsk region, near Lake Baikal, a high technology complex on the premises of its local assets Usolye-Siberian Silicon and Usolyekhimprom to produce polycrystalline silicon, also known as polysilicon or just poly-Si.
Poly-Si is a major semiconductor material used in modern microelectronics, power engineering, solar energy, and micromechanics. An estimated 90% of all solar cells manufactured in the world are based on poly-Si.
Following the 2008 global financial meltdown, however, the international polysilicon prices took a giant nose-dive from $300-400 to as low as $16 per kilo. That has forced producers across the world, including Nitol, to dramatically scale back or even completely mothball production.
At the moment, Rusnano and Sberbank own 58.75% and 41.25%, respectively, of Sherigo Resources, Ltd., a British Virgin Islands registered company controlling Nitol Group. Both the nanotech giant and Russia’s largest bank have invested heavily in Nitol’s poly-Si project.