Meyer Burger to move activities to Asia, cut 100 jobs

Meyer Burger solar technology centre. Photo: Meyer Burger

October 16 (Renewables Now) - Swiss solar equipment maker Meyer Burger Technology AG (SWX:MBTN) will relocated more activities to Asia under a transformation programme announced today, which will involve about 100 job cuts.

The company said it will move a large part of its global sales and services functions for the standard photovoltaic (PV) business solutions from Europe to Asia, chiefly China -- the main region for photovoltaic (PV) wafer, cell and module manufacturing. Meyer Burger added it is also exploring additional outsourcing or partnership models for its standard PV products with the aim of bringing its mainstream business closer to customers and reducing costs through localised design and manufacturing.

According to the announcement, the transformation programme is designed to make the company leaner and more focused, increasing its resiliency against market volatilities.

"Our strategic priorities remain Heterojunction, SmartWire Connection Technology as well as next generation cell/module technologies," said chief executive Hans Braendle.  

The job cuts will account for 9% of the company's expected workforce of around 1,100 after the previously announced end of manufacturing activities in Thun, which involves the transfer of the production of diamond wire saws from Thun to China.

The measures, three quarters of which will take place by the end of 2019, will have a positive effect on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of about CHF 25 million (USD 25.3m/EUR 21.9m) from 2021. They will lead to one-off costs of about CHF 11 million, of which CHF 4 million in 2018.

Annual spending on research and development (R&D) activities is expected to be reduced by about CHF 10 million from the average of about CHF 50 million over the past few years.  

Once the programme has been completed, the net earnings breakeven point will be reduced to net sales of about CHF 250 million.

There will also be management changes as part of the programme. 

(CHF 1 = USD 1.013/EUR 0.874)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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