Heavy layoffs loom at REC
September 29, 2011
The future of Norwegian solar firm REC’s operations in Norway have been in doubt for months, and the axe fell on around 700 workers this week. Now another 530 REC employees may be next to lose their jobs.
REC announced that it was cutting back operations at Herøya, where 400 employees are being laid off, and at its upgraded plant at Glomfjord, where 180 are losing their jobs for now. Another 530 at the two plants will get word within two months as to whether REC will shut down all production of its solar wafers in Norway. Around 180 REC workers are also being laid off in Narvik.
“It’s been a tough day,” Tore Matre, factory director at Glomfjord, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). It was just two-and-a-half years ago that he could proudly unveil newly upgraded production facilities at Glomfjord, which has been producing silisium wafers for solar panels. The upgrade valued at NOK 650 million cost less than budgeted and was finished ahead of schedule.
Since then, however, the number of Chinese producers of wafers and solar cells has exploded, DN noted, while demand hasn’t kept up. Prices have plummeted and REC’s share price has too.
“It’s still a demanding market,” John Andersen Jr, chief executive of REC, told DN. “It’s sad, because there are a lot of people who have worked hard to cut costs and they’ve done well, but it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately.”
Views and News staff