Solar Equipment Maker GT Advanced Technologies Lays Off 25 Percent of Workforce

Responding to projections that the solar panel module overcapacity will continue for at least another year, solar equipment maker GT Advanced Technologies today announced a restructuring plan. The company will lay off approximately 25 percent of its workforce and consolidate its existing business units into a single Crystal Growth Systems (CGS) group.

The company said that when fully implemented, the restructuring would save approximately $13 million in annualized expenses. GT expects to record restructuring charges associated with these actions in the amount of approximately $4.2 million in the December quarter. More details and commentary will be offered at the company’s Q3 earnings conference call, set to take place on November 7th at 8 AM ET.

GT Advanced Technologies CEO Tom Gutierrez, who previously testified in front of Congress in opposition to the anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs, said in a statement that the company’s Asian customers are facing “severe financial difficulties brought on by a number of economic and trade-related challenges.”  

He said that his company is “not immune to these headwinds” and that these actions will help it “prepare for what is likely to be a challenging 2013.”

Gutierrez said he expects to see the solar industry turn around in the long term, “driven in large part by the adoption of new technologies that provide critical cost reductions.”

On October 3, Gutierrez testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to explain what he saw as the “misguided nature of government-imposed solar panel ‘dumping’ tariffs.” In his testimony, he warned that the consequences of imposing tariffs on Chinese module manufacturers might be severe.

In addition to the solar market, GT Advanced Technologies’ crystal growth equipment and solutions also serve the LED and electronics industries.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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