Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sumco to Cut 1,300 Jobs in Withdrawal From Solar Wafer Business

Sumco Corp., a Japanese silicon wafer maker, said it will cut about 1,300 jobs amounting to 15 percent of its workforce as it withdraws from supplying solar panel makers following a plunge in prices for the raw materials.

The solar wafer business is expected to incur a “significant loss due to the sharp decline in demand and continued price collapse since last spring,” Sumco said in a business plan released today.

Sumco forecast a full-year loss of 85 billion yen ($1.1 billion) and asked Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. (5405), which owns a 28 percent stake, to buy preferred shares. The company took a charge of 58.2 billion yen for the restructuring.

“This is the first Japanese casualty manufacturer from plummeting global solar costs,” said Jenny Chase, chief solar analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Other diversified players in the country are feeling the pinch too.”

The Tokyo-based company will dissolve and liquidate its subsidiaries, Sumco Solar Corp. and Minamata Denshi Co., according to a separate statement. Sumco Solar makes solar wafer, and Minamata Denshi processes raw materials for the solar business.

Sumco said the job cuts would be made by the end of January 2014. Under Sumco’s business plan, the company will close the Imari solar plant in Saga prefecture and the Ikuno plant in Hyogo prefecture.


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