As the manufacturing industry for photovoltaic wafers, cells and modules is predominantly located in Asia, Meyer Burger will move a significant part of its global sales and services functions for the standard PV business solutions from Europe to Asia, largely to China, leading to job losses at its headquarters. The company is also evaluating further outsourcing or co-operation partnership models for its standard PV products in order to bring its mainstream business closer to its customers and localise design and manufacturing to reduce costs and safeguard margins. At the same time, the global production will be mainly be concentrated in Hohenstein-Ernstthal (Germany) and Wuxi-Shanghai (China).
“Meyer Burger successfully returned to profitability in the first half of 2018. However the same period also showed substantial market volatility in terms of customer demand for our photovoltaic products and solutions,” said Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger. “We have initiated an ambitious transformation programme that will enable Meyer Burger to become leaner and more focussed. Our strategic priorities remain Heterojunction, SmartWire Connection Technology as well as next generation cell/module technologies.”
The main focus going forward will be on its Heterojunction, SmartWire Connection Technology (SWCT) and on tandem, stacked cells that have haigher efficiencies. However, as the market environment remains uncertain, the timing of order entries continues to be difficult to predict says the company.
The company will strengthen its PV technology and engineering competence in Asia with R&D closer to customers, cutting its R&D spend by 20 percent to CHF 40million (€35m). The company will have 1100 staff after the closure of manufacturing in Thun as announced on 2 November 2017. All the layoffs will be implemented in a manner as socially responsible as possible, and changes in the Executive Board and the Board of Directors are also planned as part of the transformation programme to reflect the adjustments and future size of the company.
Three quarters of the changes are planned to be implemented by end of 2019.
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