ATS withdrawing Photowatt Technologies' IPO



    TSX: ATA

    CAMBRIDGE, ON, March 27 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc., in
consultation with BMO Capital Markets and UBS Investment Bank, today announced
that it is withdrawing its Initial Public Offering of shares in Photowatt
Technologies Inc.
    "Our primary goal in launching this IPO was to fund an accelerated
expansion of Photowatt and generate value for ATS shareholders," said Ron
Jutras, ATS President and CEO. "Unfortunately, due to market conditions, we
were not able to complete an IPO on terms that were acceptable to us. Also
factoring into our decision was that fourth quarter solar revenues were below
expected levels. This was largely due to two shipments - totalling
approximately 4 million Euros - originally scheduled to be made by Photowatt
in late March that have now been postponed by the customers. This backdrop was
not supportive of proceeding with the IPO."
    Photowatt's capacity expansion, launched earlier this fiscal year, is now
complete, meaning total integrated nameplate capacity is now 60 megawatts.
Photowatt will continue to maintain its preparedness to enable the second
phase of expansion to 100 megawatts to proceed once funding is secured.
    In light of today's announcement, Mr. Jutras said, "we fully expect to
use the upcoming period to further develop and strengthen our solar business.
In part, we intend to realize the benefits from now expanded capacity, while
we further our key strategic initiatives and relationships related to R&D,
metallurgical silicon usage and additional long-term silicon supply. Without
financing available from the IPO, we are re-evaluating all of the capital
needs of the solar group, including ongoing Spheral Solar development. We
believe these actions will strengthen Photowatt and better position it to
secure financing at the appropriate time."

    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 healthcare, computer/electronics, automotive and
consumer products. Through its solar business, ATS participates in the growing
solar energy industry. It also leverages its many years of repetitive
manufacturing experience and skills to produce, in high volume, precision
components and subassemblies and to answer the specialized repetitive
equipment manufacturing requirements of customers. ATS employs approximately
3,500 people at 25 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.

    Note to Readers
    This press 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, maintaining preparedness to enable the second phase of expansion
to 100 megawatts, further development and strengthening of solar business,
realizing the benefits from now expanded capacity, furthering key strategic
initiatives and relationships, re-evaluation of the capital needs of the solar
group, strengthening of Photowatt through initiatives to be taken, and the
ability to secure more attractive financing at the appropriate time. The risks
and uncertainties that may affect forward-looking statements include, among
others; general market performance; market performance within the solar
sector; ability to secure required funding for the solar business; performance
of ATS's solar business; whether or not Photowatt, Clean Venture 21
Corporation and Fujipream Corporation will conclude a definitive agreement
related to advancing sphere-based solar technology, risks involved in
successfully developing and commercializing sphere-based solar technology on a
cost-effective basis, including whether or not technical solutions exist, are
available, can be discovered, and are economically feasible, and potential
delays in finding technical solutions; problems with the equipment used in the
optical fused powder ("OFP") process; unforeseen problems with Photowatt
France's use of OFP silicon produced by the Spheral Solar technology and/or
refined metallurgical silicon; the risk that desired cell efficiencies
relating to refined metallurgical grade silicon technology cannot be achieved
and/or that the market is unreceptive to lower efficiency cells and as a
result it is not an economically viable alternative to the use of conventional
solar grade silicon; equipment, labour or other issues that may arise with
respect to the Spheral Solar technology being used in conversion of silicon
for Photowatt International S.A.S.; reversal of current silicon supply
arrangements, inability to finalize agreements, strategic partnerships, or
alliances to provide for 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; ability to
achieve lower silicon usage relative to conventional solar technology;
possibility that selling price increases and improvements in production
efficiencies will not be obtained and/or, if they are, will not be sufficient
to offset higher silicon costs and shortages; the cost and availability of
silicon, including silicon powder and fines, and other raw materials and
certain specialized manufacturing tools and fixtures used in the production of
the solar business' 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, 2006.
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.

    %SEDAR: 00002017E




For further information:

For further information: Carl Galloway, Vice President and Treasurer,
ATS, Gerry Beard, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, ATS, (519)
653-6500


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