ECD cancels USO auction after failing to secure bid

08. May 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Stuart

U.S.-based Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) has cancelled the auction of the going concern sale of United Solar Ovonic LLC (USO) and has discontinued the court-approved sale process, having failed to find an "acceptable" qualified bid. Around 300 employees will be let go.

Uni_Solar flexible photovoltaic products on roof in Rome

ECD provides solar laminates and systems for the building-integrated and commercial rooftop market.

ECD and a number of its subsidiaries, including USO and Solar Integrated Technologies, Inc. (SIT) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in February, having temporarily suspended its manufacturing operations last November and restructured its operations last August, due to the "challenging" solar market conditions.

ECD, which provides solar laminates and systems for the building-integrated and commercial rooftop market, had hoped to resume manufacturing operations after selling off inventory. However, the company was unsuccessful in its bid to return to profitability. "[The] announcement is one that everyone here at ECD and Uni-Solar worked extremely hard to avoid," said Julian Hawkins, ECD president and CEO.

On the back of yesterday’s announcement, the company will "immediately" reduce its existing workforce by 300 employees, worldwide. In a statement released, ECD added, "The companies will retain a smaller workforce to support the bankruptcy process and the sale of its solar and other assets, including ECD’s interest in Ovonyx, Inc. USO is also retaining a small number of employees to continue to develop its core solar technologies under government-funded contracts."

In August, ECD announced the loss of around 140 jobs under its cost reduction plan. Then, in November, 400 employees across Mexico, Michigan and Ontario were given temporary leave of absence. At the time, the company said it would resume operations when its existing inventory has been sold and the market conditions warranted it. A further 500 full time employees were let go at the end of 2011, in addition to the undisclosed "personnel and other actions" taken back in June.

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