Wed, Oct 17, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan Solar to cut 20% of workforce this quarter

RELOCATE:The firm said it would move affected employees to its module factory in Pingtung County or help them secure other jobs, and help foreign workers return home

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Solar cell manufacturer Taiwan Solar Energy Corp (元晶太陽能) yesterday said it plans to slash 20 percent of its workforce to streamline production as it is struggling to ride through an industry slump.

Based on the company’s headcount of 1,375 as of April, about 275 employees would be laid off.

An overcapacity-driven downturn worsened in June after China significantly reduced solar subsidies, curtailing solar panel installations by 30 percent, the company said earlier this year.

“In response to short-term volatility in the global solar market, the company is adjusting its product strategy to concentrate on manufacturing higher-margin PERC [passivated emitter rear contact] solar cells and solar modules,” Taiwan Solar Energy said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

However, the company is stemming losses from its low-and-mid-end solar cells, it said.

To accelerate its turnaround efforts, Taiwan Solar Energy is adjusting its workforce and would help affected employees relocate to the company’s solar module factory in Pingtung County or help foreign workers return home.

The company would also help affected employees secure jobs with its local peers, the statement said.

The layoff plan would help the company narrow its losses and enhance its competitiveness, aiding its ongoing transformation into a solar power plant builder, Taiwan Solar Energy said.

The adjustment is to be completed this quarter, Taiwan Solar Energy said.

Losses in the first half of the year widened to NT$517.89 million (US$16.75 million) from NT$441.67 million in the same period last year, while revenue plunged 40 percent year-on-year to NT$2.96 billion in the first nine months from NT$4.94 billion a year earlier, the company said.

Taiwan Solar Energy is the latest in a slew of local solar firms seeking to survive the industry downturn by cutting jobs.

Last month, solar cell maker Motech Industries Inc (茂迪) terminated more than 300 foreign labor contracts and 60 local jobs. Later that month, solar wafer supplier Green Energy Co (綠能科技) also announced a 19 percent headcount reduction.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Labor yesterday announced that 3,490 workers were on furlough as of Monday, the most since December 2015.

The figure grew by 3,006 from the ministry’s previous semimonthly update on Sept. 30, when 484 workers were on unpaid leave, the data showed.

The surge was the result of a company in the electrical and mechanical industry putting more than 2,000 of its workers on furlough pending a production adjustment, the ministry said, without naming the company.

Additional reporting by CNA

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