Wed, May 04, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Solar cell makers deny asking staff to take unpaid leave

Staff Writer, with CNA

Local solar cell manufacturers yesterday denied encouraging employees to take unpaid leave amid falling profits because of declining demand.

Their remarks came after local media reports, citing industry sources, said that Motech Industries Inc (茂迪) and Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶) had told employees to go home without pay so that they could cut their costs.

SHIFT TO R&D

Motech, the nation’s largest solar cell maker, “absolutely did not” ask its workers to take unpaid vacations, chief financial officer Jack Hsieh (謝祖葳) said.

Part of the company’s production capacity was not closed down, but was instead switched to research and development, Hsieh said.

Gintech also denied shutting down some of its production lines.

Taiwanese solar cell makers have recently seen prices fall to US$0.98 per watt of generating capacity because of falling demand from Europe, one of the largest markets for solar technology.

However, they said their production costs are more than US$1 per watt.

PROFITABILITY

The falling prices have taken a toll on companies’ profits.

Motech’s gross margin fell from 19.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year to 12.5 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Other local solar cell makers reported gross margins of less than 10 percent for the January-March period, raising concern about their second-quarter performance.

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