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Meyer Burger Cites Downturn in PV Market as Reason for Job Cuts

Post Time:Nov 23,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:359

In response to the ongoing challenging market situation in the photovoltaic sector, Meyer Burger Technology Ltd. is further expanding its current consolidation and optimisation programme.

Since the beginning of 2012, the company has consolidated sales and service operations, simplified its organisational structure and restructured production. The overall number of permanent employees has been reduced by 19%, which is more than the 15% announced in March 2012, to 2,272 employees (FTE). The synergies and improvements that have already been achieved throughout the entire organisational structure must be further intensified and expedited. The market situation has made a further adaptation in capacities necessary. With around 2,000 employees (FTE) in the future, the Meyer Burger Group will possess the necessary structure that will enable it to respond quickly and flexibly to changes in the market in a cost-efficient and customer-oriented fashion.

Following primary measures planned:

Roth and Rau AG in Hohenstein-Ernstthal (Germany) will carry out further restructuring measures which are expected to result in the reduction of 50 employees. The ongoing development of future-oriented technologies, specifically in the area of heterojunction technology, is not impacted by these measures. At other locations worldwide, measures for optimisation and adjustments in capacities are being undertaken which could lead to a reduction in personnel of around 200 employees. At this point in time, it is not possible to break down which individual Group companies or countries will be impacted.

The goal of these further restructuring measures is to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs by around CHF 30 million.

Focus on technology leadership

Despite the challenging market, Meyer Burger’s momentum remains undiminished in its research and development activities for photovoltaic technology as it continues to increase its technological edge and the process integration between wafer, cell and module technologies. A recent example is the successful market introduction of heterojunction technology which offers a significant surface advantage with its module performance of 180W/m2 (in comparison to the standard 140W/m2). With a cell performance efficiency of 21%, this technology generates record setting 303 watt modules.

As a system integrator from wafer to PV module, the Meyer Burger Group has a unique product and solution portfolio from which the optimal configuration for customers can be selected and implemented. With its focus on the photovoltaic value chain, Meyer Burger enables its customers to combine the advantages of the individual production steps, to reduce the overall cost of ownership and at the same time to increase the overall performance and efficiency of cells and modules.

Outlook

Various project discussions with customers, among them also in new PV markets in Asia, South America, in the Arab region and in Africa, confirm Meyer Burger’s conviction that the long term prospects for photovoltaics continue to be positive. However, it remains very difficult to forecast when these project discussions will result in new contracts and when the current overcapacity of solar cell and module manufacturers will be reduced. For this reason, visibility in the overall market remains limited.

Based on the expected project acceptances until the end of 2012, Meyer Burger expects at this point in time to achieve sales of slightly over CHF 600 million in fiscal year 2012. The lower expected sales and the ongoing restructuring costs will lead to an expected loss at EBITDA level of approximately CHF 20 to 40 million. With the measures being taken as part of the accelerated consolidation and optimisation programme, Meyer Burger aims to reduce the EBITDA break-even threshold in order to achieve a break-even result at EBITDA level already with similar sales volumes as in 2012.

Source: http://www.solarnovus.com/Author: shangyi

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