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Former Ebara executives not bidding for company assets

Today is likely to be an emotional day for Richard Rosey and longtime business partner John Easoz as their effort to build a solar cell manufacturing company in western Pennsylvania over the past decade fades to black.

The two had been working with former Bayer Corp. executive Larry Stern to save the assets of the former Ebara Solar of Belle Vernon. But Rosey said Wednesday they have been unable to raise the money needed to buy the company’s equipment at a state bankruptcy auction being held today. They will only be interested observers of the process.

“I feel like we gave it our best effort,” Rosey said. “Larry did a great job, but in the end, it didn’t happen for us.”

Rosey said Ebara — the Japanese maker of industrial pumps that signed on nine years ago to fund the research and development of flexible thin-film solar cells, work that had been ongoing at Westinghouse Electric Corp. — did not sign off in time on the licensing of its intellectual property.

Without that agreement, he said, potential local investors backed away.

Ebara funded the construction of a $7 million facility in Belle Vernon that opened nearly three years ago, when the company employed as many as 100 people.

But last year, facing difficulty in its primary business, Ebara executives told Rosey the company would terminate its investment.

Rosey immediately laid off his staff and sought new investors. Ebara eventually let the operation fall into state receivership, and an auction is scheduled for today at 9 a.m.

Rosey said the last hope is for someone to bid on the entire range of assets.

“We would be interested in working with anyone who would put in a bulk bid,” he said.

If bids on individual lots of equipment end up being greater than any single bid on the entire asset package, the assets will go to the several bidders.


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