Said to have been approved by a "large majority" of Q.Cells creditors, Hanwha has said it will retain around 1,250 of the companys 1,550 strong workforce. The jobs cuts will mainly be applied in Q.Cells’ administration division, where there is said to be "considerable overlap" with Hanwhas organizational structure.
The South Korean conglomerate has also said it will maintain the companys solar cell and module R&D and production site in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, and the administration office in Berlin. In Malaysia, it said that both the production site and around 500 employees will be kept on. Furthermore, "some" international sales companies which have not yet been identified will be retained.
While the exact purchase price has not been divulged, it is said to comprise "the takeover of operational liabilities in the lower triple-digit millions as well as a cash component in the mid double-digit millions, while the cash component depends on the volume of additional liabilities that will have to be taken over." The purchase agreement is still be approved by the relevant anti-trust authorities.
Commenting, Q.Cells insolvency administrator, Henning Schorisch stated, "In the current macroeconomic and political environment, which is extremely difficult for Q. Cells, it is a great success that we managed to maintain not only research and development, but also the production capacities at the Bitterfeld-Wolfen site."
He added, "While I regret the fact that there are certain job losses, I am very happy that Q. Cells has found a strong partner in Hanwha, who has the necessary means to provide company, brand and staff with long-term perspectives again."
Regarding the affected employees, Schorisch said that negotiations are already underway with the works council. It is hoped that funds could be raised to establish a re-employment and training company.
Below is a timeline of events in the run up to today’s news:
- January 24 Q.Cells unveils financial restructuring plan
- February 28 Q.Cells’ creditors agree to defer bond payments
- March 6 Q.Cells announces devastating 2011 preliminary financials
- March 19 – Q.Cells out of TecDax
- April 3 Q.Cells files for insolvency
- April 18 Q.Cells insolvency proceedings expected by July
- April 23 Q.Cells resumes cell and module production
- May 5 Q.Cells could survive, says insolvency manager
- June 29 Rumors of a Hanwha takeover first emerge
- July 2 Insolvency proceedings open for Q.Cells
- July 18 Q.Cells to continue operations
- August 9 More rumors emerge over Hanwhas Q.Cells takeover
- August 13 Hanwha confirms Q.Cells interest
- August 14 Hanwhas proposed takeover of Q.Cells welcomed
- August 16 Hanwha announces it wants to keep Q.Cells’ German production
- August 27 Hanwha signs Q.Cells takeover contract
- August 28 Isofotón announces it has also submitted a bid
- August 29 Q.Cells announces Hanwha will take it over