Feb. 10, 2014 - SunEdison, Inc. today announced that it will indefinitely close its shuttered polysilicon manufacturing facility in Merano, Italy immediately. This is the conclusion of a process that began with the previously announced 2011 global restructuring plan.
The Merano polysilicon facility was shuttered in December of 2011 as part of a restructuring plan to better align the business with current and expected market conditions and improve overall cost competitiveness. For the past two years SunEdison explored various options to improve the cost effectiveness of the Merano polysilicon facility. Ultimately, the identified cost reductions were not enough to sustain the economic viability of the plant in the current market environment. The indefinite closure will affect approximately 200 employees at the Merano polysilicon plant. In connection with the closure, the associated electronic grade TCS (trichlorosilane) operation, which employs approximately 35 people, will be closed over the next 12 months. As a result of the decision to indefinitely close the polysilicon manufacturing facility and TCS operation, we expect to record approximately $37 million of fixed asset impairments for the year-ended December 31, 2013.
SunEdison will also commence a plan to consolidate its semiconductor crystal operations. The consolidation will include the transitioning of small diameter crystal activities in its St. Peters, Missouri facility to its other crystal facilities in Korea, Taiwan and Italy. The crystal manufacturing consolidation will affect approximately 100 employees in St. Peters and will be implemented over the next 12 months.
"We never take actions like these lightly. However, in light of current market conditions, today's announcement is necessary to preserve our strong competitive position and strengthen our future. We will make every effort to provide the necessary assistance to our affected employees," said Shaker Sadasivam, Executive Vice President and President of Semiconductor Materials. "The decision to close the Merano polysilicon and TCS operations and to transition crystal operations is the result of our continuous efforts to improve the performance of our business through solutions that will keep these facilities economically strong."
Sadasivam also noted, "We appreciate all the support provided by the Bolzano Province and by the Italian Government in helping achieve lower power rates. We look forward to continuing to work with them during the transition to help make our Italian operations more competitive. We are focused on maintaining competitive costs across our global footprint, including Italy. This includes continuing to take strategic steps aimed at improving all aspects of our operations including cost, quality and productivity. This will enable us to enhance our business globally and to support our goal of maintaining a strong presence in Italy."