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News

ATS Solar Group Secures Multi-year Polysilicon Supply Contract with Industry-leading WACKER Chemie AG

ATS Automation

 

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. today announced that its Photowatt France subsidiary has entered into a multi-year agreement to purchase high-purity polysilicon from WACKER Chemie AG. Under the agreement, WACKER will deliver polysilicon to support approximately 14 megawatts of Photowatt solar production per annum. Deliveries are expected to begin in January 2010 and continue for a nine year period. The agreement requires advance payments that will be covered by a portion of the proceeds raised from ATS's recent rights offering. For competitive reasons, the terms of the contract were not released but management believes they are similar to other long-term contracts recently secured in the solar industry.

‘‘This polysilicon contract is an important next step in our plan to continue to strengthen Photowatt in advance of its spin out,’‘ said Ron Jutras, ATS President and CEO. ‘‘The agreement significantly improves our access to scarce polysilicon by providing us with a contracted supply from a highly respected global supplier at attractive long-term supply prices. It also clearly establishes an important strategic supply relationship between Photowatt and WACKER which we intend to build upon.’‘

Photowatt has implemented an active silicon supply strategy to ensure it has sufficient supply on hand, at reasonable prices, to meet its long-term needs and support its future expansion. In support of this strategy, the contract announced today is the fourth major long-term silicon agreement Photowatt has signed in recent months. It previously announced two long-term supply agreements with Deutsche Solar AG for the supply of polysilicon wafers and a long-term supply agreement for refined metallurgical silicon with Dow Corning. Photowatt's vertically-integrated technology and manufacturing capability allow it to manufacture solar cells and modules using a broad range of silicon feedstock, which it purchases based upon availability and cost.

About WACKER
WACKER (www.wacker.com) is a globally active chemical company headquartered in Munich. With a wide range of state-of-the-art specialty products, WACKER is a leader in numerous industrial sectors. Its products are required in many high-growth end-user sectors such as photovoltaics, electronics, pharmaceuticals and household/personal care products. The Group's WACKER POLYSILICON business division is the world's second-largest producer of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries. In 2006, WACKER Group posted sales of some (euro)3.34 billion, with approx. 80 percent being earned outside Germany. WACKER has about 14,700 employees at 22 production sites in Europe, the Americas and Asia and at some 100 sales offices worldwide. WACKER CHEMIE AG's shares (ISIN: DE000WCH8881) are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

About ATS
ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. provides innovative, custom designed, built and installed manufacturing solutions to many of the world's most successful companies. Founded in 1978, ATS uses its industry-leading knowledge and global capabilities to serve the sophisticated automation systems' needs of multinational customers in industries such as healthcare, computer/electronics, automotive and consumer products. It also leverages its many years of repetitive manufacturing experience and skills to fulfill the specialized repetitive equipment manufacturing requirements of customers. Through its Photowatt solar business, ATS participates in the growing solar energy industry and through its precision components business it produces, in high volume, precision components and subassemblies. ATS employs approximately 3,500 people at 24 manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, Europe, southeast Asia and China. The Company's shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ATA. Visit the Company's website at www.atsautomation.com.

Forward Looking Statement
This news release contains certain statements that constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws (‘‘forward-looking statements’‘). Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of ATS, or developments in ATS's business or in its industry, to differ materially from the anticipated results, performance, achievements or developments expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include all disclosure regarding possible events, conditions or results of operations that is based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. Forward-looking statements may also include, without limitation, any statement relating to future events, conditions or circumstances. ATS cautions you not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, expected timing of deliveries under the contract that is announced in this news release; the estimated solar power capacity to be manufactured therefrom; planned spin out of Photowatt; and intention to build upon Wacker relationship. The risks and uncertainties that may affect forward-looking statements include, among others; general market performance; the receipt of all necessary approvals and advance tax ruling relating to the spin out; market performance within the solar sector; ability to secure required funding for the solar business; performance of ATS's solar business; potential inability of silicon suppliers to meet delivery and schedule targets; potential for unexpected manufacturing problems to be encountered by suppliers; political, labour, supplier or other disruptions in the manufacturing and supply of the silicon products by the suppliers; availability of additional future silicon from Wacker; currency fluctuations; achievement of technical advances in cell efficiency; reversal of current silicon supply arrangements, inability to finalize agreements, strategic partnerships, or alliances to provide for R&D initiatives and/or silicon supply and other problems that may be encountered with silicon supply sources; potential for silicon prices to decline in the face of long-term silicon supply arrangements; possibility that improvements in production efficiencies will not be obtained and/or, if they are, will not be sufficient to offset higher silicon costs and shortages and any reductions in average selling price of solar products; the cost and availability of silicon and other raw materials and certain specialized manufacturing tools and fixtures used in the production of Photowatt's products; the successful expansion of production capability and adoption of new production processes; the extent of market demand for solar products such as those developed by the solar business; the availability and timing of government subsidies for solar products, the development of superior or alternative technologies to those developed by the solar business; and other risks detailed from time to time in ATS's filings with Canadian provincial securities regulators, including ATS's Management's Discussion and Analysis, Consolidated Financial Statements, Annual Report and Annual Information Form for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions, and ATS does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should assumptions related to these plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions change.


For further information:
Carl Galloway
Vice President and Treasurer

Gerry Beard
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

(519) 653-6500

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