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Around 900 job losses as SunPower trims back Philippines solar cell manufacturing operations

As part of the restructuring plan, the company is temporarily shutting down half of its Fab 2 cell manufacturing plant and 20% of panel manufacturing in the Philippines to "significantly reduce inventory, lower operational costs and improve efficiency".

As a result, the overall blended utilisation for the fourth quarter will be approximately 60%, SunPower said in a statement today. Some 900 employees,  mostly in the Philippines, will lose their jobs as a result of the plan. "Industry conditions continue to be challenging and while it is never an easy decision to reduce positions, we must make prudent decisions to effectively compete in an industry with significant overcapacity. Additionally, we'll further our efforts to reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies," said Tom Werner, SunPower chief executive officer and president.

"With this aggressive reorganisation plan, SunPower is well positioned to lead the solar market due to our world leading technology and products, significant downstream presence in multiple end segments and ability to open new market opportunities."

The company said it continues to make strong progress on its cost reduction roadmap and remains committed to reaching its cost per watt goal of less than $0.75 per watt on an efficiency adjusted basis for SunPower's lowest cost solar panels by the end of 2012. The company's previously disclosed Fiscal Year 2012 earnings guidance remains unchanged.

Additional details on its strategic initiatives will be disclosed during its third quarter 2012 earnings conference call on Nov. 1, 2012, but SunPower said today that it expects to record restructuring charges totaling $10-17mn, composed of severance benefits, lease and related termination costs and other associated costs. It expects that greater than 90% of these charges will be cash.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity