Gibraltar Industries to exit European solar racking business, future of Renusol unclear

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Gibraltar Industries, a U.S. manufacturer of building products, is to exit the European solar industry by closing its solar racking facilities on the continent.

As part of its portfolio management and 80/20 strategic initiatives, the company will also shutter its bar grating product line in the U.S. These actions will lead to 250 job losses and the closure of five sites over the next 120 days, Gibraltar Industries confirmed.

According to the company’s CEO Frank Heard, the decision to exit the European solar racking industry was taken based on negative market dynamics and a depressed assessment of the sector’s medium-term growth.

"We made the decision to exit these product lines after assessing their prospect for future growth in the context of our portfolio management and 8ß0/20 strategic initiatives to focus resources on the highest-return markets, platforms and businesses," said Heard. "These actions will enhance the overall profitability and financial strength of the company going forward, and will also benefit future employment and career opportunities across Gibraltar’s group of companies."

Gibraltar Industries estimates that the closures will reduce annual revenues by around $75 million and increase operating income by upwards of $6 million.

In 2015, Gibraltar Industries bought RBI Solar, the parent company of German mounting firm Renusol. A Renusol spokesperson told pv magazine Deutschland that there is likely to be a company meeting later this week regarding Renusol’s financial situation and investment need. Currently, the Cologne-based assembly rack and mounting supplier employs 63 people, the spokesperson confirmed.