Among the several strategic moves announced by Meyer Burger management over the past few months under its planned business model adjustment, the Swiss headquartered PV equipment manufacturer has now revealed it will be shuttering the Zülpich located fab of its Hennecke Systems subsidiary by mid-2020. (Photo Credit: Meyer Burger Technology Ltd.)
- Meyer Burger has decided to shut down its subsidiary Hennecke Systems GmbH's Zülpich, Germany located wafer and cell testing technology unit
- It will now produce optical measuring and testing technologies for industrial manufacturing of wafers and cells from its Hohenstein-Ernstthal location in Germany
- Management blamed unattractive margins in the business with sharp drop in volumes and margins, especially in the Chinese market as the reason for the decision along with it being a result of its planned business model adjustment
- Meyer Burger’s decision means jobs loss for around 60 employees at the Zülpich site
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Switzerland based PV production equipment producer Meyer Burger Technology Ltd. will be completely discontinuing operations at its Zülpich, Germany located production fab by mid-2020. It will instead offer systems for optical measuring and testing technologies from another German location using its own resources – in Hohenstein-Ernstthal .
At the Zülpich facility, Meyer Burger has been producing optical measuring and testing technologies for industrial manufacturing of wafers and cells for the solar PV industry under the brand name of its subsidiary Hennecke Systems GmbH. Meyer Burger produces systems for coating and structuring of surfaces for several industries at the Hohenstein-Ernstthal location currently, and it also develops cell production lines for manufacturing of high efficiency solar cells.
Meyer Burger management attributed the reason behind this decision on decreasing volumes and margins that have dropped sharply in recent months. Moreover, this closure is part of its restructuring.
“The decision to close the Zülpich site was therefore not taken lightly. However, Meyer Burger had to take this decisive step as part of the planned adjustment of the business model and as a result of the unattractive margins in the PV standard business, especially in the Chinese market, and after examining various strategic options,” explained CEO Hans Brändle. “Further consolidating our production capacities in Hohenstein-Ernstthal allows us to continue to increase efficiency and strengthen our competitiveness.
Closure of the Zülpich site will take away jobs for around 60 employees who will be offered ‘socially compatible solutions on the basis of the legal requirements’. The company expects restructuring costs of close to CHF 7 million ($7.14 million) to be provided to the affected employees in 2019. Of this CHF 3 million ($3.06 million) is expected to affect cashflow in 2020.
This strategic decision is also part of the Swiss company’s restructuring plans that are being executed currently, including selling off its software businesses well as its headquarter building in Switzerland, divestment of its wafer business to be able to concentrate on improving its liquidity and focus on its high-efficiency HJT SmartWire Technology (see Meyer Burger Selling Software Business AIS). In August 2019, it announced a new revenue model for its HJT business as part of an agreement with REC Solar for profit sharing and adequate exclusivity for a GW level HJT and SWCT factory (see Meyer Burger Announces ‘Disruptive’ Business Model).