Applied Materials announces major workforce reduction

In total, the U.S.-based company will reduce its global workforce by between 6 and 9%. A spokesperson for the company told pv magazine the reductions will be made across the entire company and will not focus on any specific business segment, like solar.

They declined to comment on the development of the company’s solar business, however, stating that it had nothing to do with the restructuring announcement.

While voluntary retirement will be offered to U.S. employees who are found to meet minimum age and length of service requirements, and "other business-specific criteria", other workforce reductions will also be implemented.

The spokesperson added that the decision has been made on the back of the weakening global economy, and as a result of Applied Material’s refocused efforts in R&D and on its core competencies in product development.

The restructuring is expected to be completed by the end of Q3 2013. "Upon completion, the plan is projected to make available approximately $140 million to $190 million annually to fund key growth initiatives," said the company in a statement released.

"Achieving our strategic objectives requires us to deploy our talent in the best way possible," continued Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO. "We are taking action to realign our worldwide organization and workforce while investing in key product development capabilities that will enhance our ability to grow."

As a result of the changes, Applied Materials expects to incur between US$180 million to $230 million in severance and other termination charges.

In 2010, the company announced its plans to restructure its Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) segment, to put a primary emphasis on opportunities in crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar and advanced energy, including light emitting diode (LED) technology. As part of the restructuring, Applied said it would discontinue sales to new customers of its SunFab fully integrated lines for manufacturing thin film solar panels.