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Applied Materials restructures, moves solar mfg to Asia

Posted: 14 May 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar panel? wafer manufacturing? PV market?

Applied Materials Inc., a chip and solar panel equipment vendor, has announced that it will lay-off 250 of its employees. The company is also relocating the manufacturing of its solar wafer systems from Switzerland to Asia as part of it restructuring plans.

In a regulatory filing, Applied said its board of directors approved the plan to restructure its Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) unit in light of challenging industry conditions affecting the solar photovoltaic (PV) and light-emitting diode (LED) equipment markets. The actions undertaken are consistent with Applied's previously-stated goal to reduce the EES unit's annual revenue breakeven level to $500 million in fiscal 2013, the company said.

As part of the plan, Applied said it expects to relocate manufacturing for its precision wafering system (PWS) solar business, which is based in Cheseaux, Switzerland, to Asia. PWS business operations and customer support functions will be relocated primarily to Treviso, Italy, the headquarters for Applied's Baccini Cell Systems, and Xi'an, China, the site of Applied's Solar Technology Center, the company said.

PWS's headquarters and new product development will remain in Switzerland, Applied said.. The plan also includes significant reductions in development activities for LED, the company said.

Workforce-related actions will be finalized and implemented in accordance with local legal requirements and in consultation with employees and employee representative bodies, as required, Applied noted.

The estimated pre-tax cost of implementing the restructuring plan is expected to be between $70 million and $100 million, Applied said. The cost will be incurred over the next 12 to 18 months, the company said.

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