First Solar unveils German redundancy plan


First Solar spokesman, Brandon Mitchener has confirmed that the company’s Frankfurt (Oder) workforce has been presented with a redundancy plan. Under it, all employees have the option to continue working until the end of the year, if they so wish. As severance, they are expected to receive up to 1.8 times their monthly salary for each year of service. Mitchener added that the exact amount will be determined by individual factors.

In addition, a transfer company will be set up, which will continue to employ the First Solar workers for up to nine months after the plants in Frankfurt (Oder) close down. Some employees are also expected to receive additional support measures, and a portion of the workforce will remain busy until the end of April 2013 with tasks related to the shutdown of production.

First Solar is also on the lookout for an investor. Mitchener said that the company has already received enquiries regarding the facilities and the workforce. He added that the appointment of an estate agent should continue to advance the investor search.

The U.S.-based thin film photovoltaic manufacturer will have to repay all funding it received for the construction of its Frankfurt (Oder) production facilities to the state of Brandenburg. According to the state, this should amount to around €5 million. First Solar said, however, that it will need to pay around €30 million back to the state government. Another US$200 million to $320 million is said to have been budgeted for depreciation in connection with the plant closures and severance pay.

Translated by Becky Beetz.