Bloomberg News

Solar Industry’s ‘Uncertainties’ Lead Meyer Burger to Cut Output

October 25, 2011

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Meyer Burger Technology AG, Europe’s biggest solar-panel equipment maker, said it would temporarily halt output at its MB Wafertec unit in Switzerland amid “high uncertainties” within the solar industry.

Production at the wafer machinery plant in Thun will be halted for as many as three weeks in November and may be adjusted again in December as wafer, cell and panel producers delay investments in new machinery amid low demand for their products, Meyer Burger said in an e-mailed statement today.

A “looming economic slowdown” and feed-in-tariff reductions in Germany, Spain and Italy, Europe’s biggest markets, “have led to dramatic changes in sales trends for solar modules and systems in recent months,” Baar, Switzerland- based Meyer Burger said. The company confirmed its net sales and earnings forecast for the year.

Solar panel makers have been struggling to deal with weakening demand in Europe. They’re also under pressure from Chinese manufacturers such as Suntech Power Holdings Co. and LDK Solar Co., which expanded production capacity just as demand slowed, causing cell and module prices to plummet.

Meyer Burger shares dropped the most since Oct. 11, as much as 4.9 percent to 22.55 Swiss francs, in Zurich trading. They were at 23.05 francs at 9:45 a.m. Swiss time, raising their decline this year to 21 percent. The company said it expects net sales to remain unchanged at about 1.2 billion francs ($1.4 billion), with an EBITDA margin of 23 percent to 25 percent.

Meyer Burger, which bought German competitor Roth & Rau AG this year, may put some workers on unpaid leave and implement shorter working hours if sales don’t pick up in December, it said. The company will be able to ramp up production “in the shortest period of time” should demand increase, it said.

--Editors: Baldave Singh, Randall Hackley

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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