Applied Materials announces restructuring due to negative impact on thin film market

Upon completion of the restructuring plan, annual operating expenses are expected to decrease by at least USD$100 million on an annualized basis.

Research and development (R&D) efforts to improve thin film panel efficiency and high-productivity deposition will however continue, it says. The company also says it will support existing SunFab customers with services, upgrades and capacity increases through its Applied Global Services segment. Applied’s solar R&D center in Xi’an, China will concentrate on advancing its c-Si solar and other technologies.

“While Applied has delivered significant innovations with our SunFab production line and made substantial progress on our technology roadmap, the thin film market has been negatively impacted by several factors, including delays in utility-scale solar adoption, solar panel manufacturers’ challenges in obtaining affordable capital, changes and uncertainty in government renewable energy policies, and competitive pressure from crystalline silicon technologies,” said Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials.

“Led by Mark Pinto, EES will focus on our industry-leading crystalline silicon solar business and on pursuing other opportunities in advanced energy technologies like LED lighting.”

The company also plans to divest its low-emissivity architectural glass coating products, while continuing development activities in emerging technologies such as “smart” electrochromic glass.

The cost of implementing the EES restructuring plan is expected to be in the range of approximately USD$375 million to USD$425 million, or USD$0.18 to USD$0.21 per share.