Oerlikon Solar: Company Dramas upstage Thin Film progress

OC Oerlikon CEO leaves over executive pay controversy
API GmbH payments for productions systems delayed

Thomas Limberger CEO of OC Oerlikon Corporation AG (VTX:OERL), parent of the Oerlikon Solar division, left the company on May 7, 2007, per Oerlikon chief in shock exit. The Board of Directors appoints Uwe Krüger as new CEO of Oerlikon Group, and Mr. Limberger is said to have made his own decision on this.

The pay controversy began with the round about disclosure of Mr. Limberger’s compensation package in the Oerlikon 2006 Annual Report:

Members of the Executive Board were granted a total of 7000 Oerlikon shares with a value of CHF 2 million in the 2006 financial year and 40000 options with a value of CHF 0.9 million.

There were clear signs of trouble when Thomas Limberger, CEO of Oerlikon, foregoes granted options at his own request. Oerlikon’s Board of Directors swapped Mr. Limberger’s 40000 options not exercisable before January 1, 2009, for a 3000 share stock grant worth CHF 2.160.000 capping his 2006 compensation at a mere CHF 7.714.982 instead of the scandalous estimate of CHF 26 million. If that development didn’t indicate a short term view, then on April 25, 2007, in Statement of Thomas Limberger, CEO of OC Oerlikon Corporation AG, Pfäffikon, Mr. Limberger said:

With reference to rumours circulating many times in the media that I would shortly give up my position as CEO of Oerlikon, I would like to state in agreement with the Board of Directors that these speculations are without any foundation. On the contrary, I will keep on using all my strength and energy to continue the positive development of Oerlikon.

Oerlikon seems to make a habit of correcting the media to set the facts straight. Nevertheless, twelve (12) calendar days later, Mr. Limberger left the company.

In Applied Materials Solar shuts out Oerlikon Solar 3:0, I mentioned this CHF 320 million order from Saudi investor backed API GmbH in passing, and PHOTON International spun the deal as Oerlikon receives rather odd order for large thin-film factory and tipped the company parent as Clausthaler Solar GmbH. In a press release from April 19, 2007, titled Oerlikon Solar, the mysterious API GmbH has delayed payment for the ordered thin film amorphous silicon module plants though production continues as outlined in the purchase contract.

I realize these events may not be new news, but they seem to be under covered outside of Europe and German language publications. I plan to address positive developments regarding Oerlikon Solar in a future post.


  1. Anonymous says:

    what is your take on the turnkeys offered by amat and oerlikon right now? which booths will you visit at intersolar?

  2. Edgar A. Gunther says:

    They enable a psuedo foundry like model for new, inexperienced entrants.
    Both of course. Oerlikon Solar just issued an interesting newsletter about ersol’s imminent production ramp.

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