News Article

GT Solar Acquires Sapphire Producer Crystal Systems

GT Solar will gain entry into the fast growing sapphire market with Crystal Systems who are experts in manufacturing large area sapphire substrates used in the LED, defense, medical and aerospace industries.

GT Solar International, a global provider of polysilicon production technology, crystalline ingot growth systems and related photovoltaic manufacturing services for the solar industry has acquired privately-held Crystal Systems.

Crystal Systems is a crystalline growth technology company that manufactures high-quality, large area sapphire substrates used in the LED, defense, medical and aerospace industries. It produces sapphire substrates ranging between 8inch and 26inch diameters.

 “Crystal Systems’ sapphire process knowledge complements our expertise in silicon growth technologies and we believe this combination will allow us to quickly deliver products that leapfrog sapphire crystallization technology available from other suppliers," said Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO.

“We expect to capitalize on the attractive opportunities we have identified in equipment, LED, and high tech specialty markets that require high-quality, low cost crystalline substrates. Crystal Systems has a rich history of innovation and we believe the combination of their technical expertise supported by our proven global operating experience and available capital resources will accelerate the adoption of new low-cost, high-quality crystalline sapphire solutions."

Founded in 1971, Crystal Systems is recognized for its innovations in crystal growth technology and claims it is a leading supplier of sapphire and Ti:sapphire material. The company leverages its proprietary and complementary crystal growth and process knowledge to produce large sized, high-quality sapphire products.

 Crystal Systems’ development and manufacturing operations are located in Salem, Massachusetts. Fred Schmid, founder of Crystal Systems and the inventor of the Heat Exchanger Method or HEM process, will be joining GT Solar in a senior technical capacity to further accelerate the commercialization of this technology.

Industry analysts project that the LED market could grow up to a 40 % compound annual growth rate over the next several years driven by increased sales of products such as flat panel televisions and commercial and residential lighting. Sapphire is the most widely used substrate for this fast-growing market.

Under the terms of the agreement, the purchase consideration consisted of approximately $24 million in cash, 5.4 million shares of GT Solar common stock and a $21 million cash earn-out. The cash earn-out provision is based on the attainment of certain financial and technical targets. Crystal Systems is a profitable company with expected revenues of approximately $16 million for the 2010 calendar year. The company will positively contribute to GT Solar’s operating income over the next 18 months and is expected to be accretive on an EPS basis by year end FY12.

GT Solar management will discuss the acquisition during its Q1 FY2011 earnings conference call, which is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time Thursday, August 5.

The call will be webcast live and can be accessed by logging on to the "Investors" section of GT Solar's website,

The call can also be accessed by dialing 866.770.7146 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              866.770.7146      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or 617.213.8068 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              617.213.8068      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (International). The telephone passcode is SOLR.
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