Meyer Burger today announced the initiation of a new cost efficiency program, which includes the end of all manufacturing activities at its Swiss headquarters. The company stated that manufacturing capacities in Thun are already significantly underutilized, and that the transformation is necessary to reduce costs.
The site in Thun, Switzerland currently produces Meyer Burger’s diamond wire sawing platform, and other equipment used in wafer and module processes. In a press statement, Meyer Burger that the diamond wire production will be moved to China – where 85% of demand for the equipment is located.
Meyer Burger’s proprietary Busbar technology and JT laminators will be discontinued, and the company plans to focus its module strategy on establishing Smartwire Connection Technology as an industry standard.
Up to 180 manufacturing and related jobs at the Thun site will be affected over the next 15 months, and Meyer Burger will assess solutions for production and logistics spaces no longer in use. Thun will continue to serve as Meyer Burger’s headquarters, and be dedicated to global sales, marketing, research and development and other functions.
“The decisions to close down production in Thun in 2018 and to reorganise certain parts of our product portfolio were difficult to take. Especially since it also affects many long-term employees of Meyer Burger,” stated CEO Hans Brändle. “But this transformation and reorganisation has become unavoidable and necessary to improve the Group’s operating efficiency and to secure the future of Meyer Burger. We will ensure that the personnel measures are carried out in a fair, respectful and socially responsible way.”
As a result of the new measures, Meyer Burger expects to reach an EBITDA of around CHF 10 million ($10 million) annually as of fiscal 2019. In the shorter term, implementation of the measures will cost around CHF 10 million in product transfer and personnel costs, and a one-off charge of CHF 40 million due to impairment of assets and write off of inventory will be recorded in 2017 financial results.