Manz announces 174 job losses, capacity adjustments

Following the cancellation of its Capital Markets Day yesterday, and after announcing a restructuring program at the end of this October, Manz has said 174 employees will be let go.

A spokesperson for the German equipment maker told pv magazine this will comprise 73 in Germany, of which 54 are based at the headquarters in Reutlingen; 78 in China and Taiwan; and 23 in Slovakia, Hungary and Italy. Production capacities will be adjusted accordingly, said Manz in a statement released.

The manufacturer is also looking to diversify its customer base, moving away from few, large customers. "In addition, an expansion of the product portfolio with innovative and higher-margin high-end products for the strategic target industries should contribute to the optimization of Manz AG’s profitability," read the statement.

Cost savings of around €7 million are anticipated on the back of the redundancies which, in combination with further optimization of processes, structures and capacities, should help Manz improve its cost structure in 2016. "Additional potentials in the lower two-digit million range from optimized sales and purchasing processing are being examined by the Managing Board," added Manz.

Manz’s subsidiaries in China and Taiwan are expected to particularly benefit from the changes, which will include outsourcing more from Taiwan and Germany to China to improve utilization, increase costs advantages and have direct access to customers.

"Today, the majority of the customer base has already established its production capacities there and, in the view of the management of Manz AG, will continue to expand them in the coming years," continued the statement.

The move was taken following a number of incoming order delays in the manufacturer’s electronics and energy storage segments, particularly in China, and the cancelation of a bulk order in its electronics division worth around €12 million.

These significantly impacted earnings, forcing Manz to revise its FY guidance downwards and embark on restructuring, chiefly in its Solar segment.

Manz is still examining the options for the solar arm of its business. An update is expected to come at the start of 2016. While they could not provide any specifics, the spokesperson added that these options include possible talks and negotiations with investors.

Overall Q3 revenues for Manz fell, from €250.9 million in Q3 2014, to just €169 million. Of this, the solar segment generated around €17.2 million euros or 10.2% of total revenues, up from €9.3 million or 3.7% in 2014.

The energy storage segment, meanwhile, saw very positive revenues of €55.6 million, representing 32.9% of total revenues, up significantly from €12.2 million or 4.9%. Marking the biggest revenue loss was Manz’s electronics segment, which saw revenues tumble from €189.4 million or 75.5% last year, to €65.3 million, or 38.7% this year.

Going forward, Manz says it is the only non-Asian company that is "very well positioned" in the energy storage growth market and expects to benefit from the "anticipated rapid growth rates in the field of storage technologies." It also intends to keep its focus in the Electronics business segment.

"The strategic orientation will be strengthened by the two business segments New Business and Contract Manufacturing. The New Business segment plays an important role in opening new potential target markets and industries for further diversification of the business of Manz AG. The Contract Manufacturing segment will also support flexible and high capacity utilization inside the Group in the future," concluded the statement.