MEYER BURGER LAUNCHES COMPREHENSIVE STRUCTURAL PROGRAMME TO SUSTAINABLY INCREASE ITS PROFITABILITY

Meyer Burger Technology Ltd (SIX Swiss Exchange: MBTN) announced that it has initiated a company-wide structural programme. The objective of the programme is to extensively strengthen the company’s strategic technology units focussed on high-end photovoltaic user markets and to increase its flexibility in the often challenging high-end key markets. In addition, the global service business will be strengthened and individually expanded within local customer and application markets. As a result of the structural programme, the total operating cost base will further decline by about CHF 50 million.  

Meyer Burger has already executed numerous measures during the past five years, reduced its operating expenses, simplified its corporate structure and re-adjusted capacities due to the extremely challenging situation in the solar industry. The level of personnel and other operating expenses declined by over 36% from CHF 330 million in fiscal year 2011 to CHF 210 million in fiscal year 2015.

In the first half of 2016, Meyer Burger achieved a profit at the EBITDA level for the first time since 2012. The positive EBITDA of CHF 6.2 million and the positive cash flow from operating activities of CHF 15.4 million for the first half-year 2016 confirm the direction the company has taken and its resulting turnaround. However, further comprehensive cost reductions will be necessary in order to also enable long-term and sustainable profitability on the net earnings level.

The company’s mid- and long-term objective is to strengthen its strategic technology units focussed on high-end photovoltaic user markets and to increase its flexibility against short-term shifts in the market through industry-leading and manufacturing-proven technologies and products, as well as through an increased local services business.  

As a result of the cost-cutting measures which are linked to the structural programme, the annual operating cost base of the company will further decline by about CHF 50 million.

Cost-cutting measures completed until year-end 2016

The organisational and production structures in the Technology and Production Centers will be further optimised and focussed on core technologies. Capacity adjustments will take place in Asia. Research and Development, the worldwide sales and service organisation and certain parts of the product portfolio will be streamlined. All these measures will lead to a very lean company structure focussed on high-end photovoltaic user markets.    

As a result of the structural programme, the number of employees will be reduced by about 250 positions or 16% by year-end 2016 compared to mid-year 2016 (1,547 FTE). About one third of the reductions will occur in Switzerland, mainly at the site in Thun. Today in Switzerland the relevant consultation procedures will begin together with the employee representatives. Wherever possible, reductions will be achieved through natural fluctuations or early retirement schemes. However, it will most likely not be possible to avoid terminating employment contracts with many people. Meyer Burger regrets the effects this will have on the people concerned and will do its utmost to make the measures as socially compatible as possible.      

The extraordinary expenses in conjunction with the structural programme are expected to be about CHF 3 to 4 million and will be charged as one-off costs to the 2016 financial statements.

“The improvements we achieved during the first half of 2016 in terms of our sales markets but also with respect to our operating results have been very encouraging. However, we must lift our company into sustainable profitability on the net earnings level as well. We want to align Meyer Burger for the future and become leaner, increasingly flexible and even more focussed than before on the high-end user markets in the photovoltaic industry. This unfortunately leads to far-reaching measures within our organisational structure. These decisions are not easy to take. The structural programme creates the conditions for Meyer Burger to increase its operating profitability and to continue benefitting from its strong market position”, says Peter Pauli, CEO of Meyer Burger.  

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is delivering a DESERT turnkey production line to Brazil, the first of its kind and hopefully the first in many breakthroughs to leave the factory floor on their way to the largest country in South America. With a capacity of 30 MW, this is a small semi-automatic DESERT production line, but still a flagship in terms of DESERT solar module production and electricity generation in the country, now fully functional and ready to start with operation.

The machinery consists of DESERT production machines for high-efficiency DESERT solar modules built specifically for extreme hot climate, such as can be seen in deserts or in tropical areas. Made solely in Germany and built using the latest in DESERT and TROPIC module production, the systems inlcudes all cutting-edge technology.

Certified DESERT solar modules, DESERT containers, DESERT power plants and DESERT manufacturing machinery built using pioneering DESERT and TROPICS technology are now fully set up, and ready to perform. But powering on the machinery has been a long time coming. Up until recently, this advanced piece of equipment had been waiting for clearance at a port in Brazil. Now that the formalities have been dealt with, both J.v.G. Thoma and its customer in Brazil can get production under way.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is a company whose vision has always been to harness the infinite power of the sun and convert it into an inexhaustible supply of energy. But a vision such as this requires global reach, and this project has opened new doors. Brazil is not only a gateway to South American cooperation, but also the launchpad to international reach and expansion.

Following the delivery of this initial order, J.v.G. Thoma GmbH will be looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Brazilian company. From setup and initial training to setting the scene for a ramp up, J.v.G. Thoma will be there to provide expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company will be jointly responsible, along with the client, for the successful integration of the DESERT solar module factory.

In the future, bigger DESERT power plants will be set up on Brazilian soil, and together with existing turnkey production systems, they intend to take up a large share of the products and assets this sector will possess locally. J.v.G. Thoma plans to build up a local network of sales agents that can extend a premium offering to neighbouring countries in South America. Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its customer base to clients in North America.

Hans Thoma, general manager from the Thoma-group, is eager to acquire a substantial market share in Brazil, a growing country with tremendous potential for solar energy output. Having complied with local official procedures (Inmetro, TÜV, Fraunhofer CSP) and cleared the way for future business collaboration, he expresses his hope that the solar industry will henceforth expand quickly.

”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Lets go ....
J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is delivering a DESERT turnkey production line to Brazil, the first of its kind and hopefully the first in many breakthroughs to leave the factory floor on their way to the largest country in South America. With a capacity of 30 MW, this is a small semi-automatic DESERT production line, but still a flagship in terms of DESERT solar module production and electricity generation in the country, now fully functional and ready to start with operation.

The machinery consists of DESERT production machines for high-efficiency DESERT solar modules built specifically for extreme hot climate, such as can be seen in deserts or in tropical areas. Made solely in Germany and built using the latest in DESERT and TROPIC module production, the systems inlcudes all cutting-edge technology.

Certified DESERT solar modules, DESERT containers, DESERT power plants and DESERT manufacturing machinery built using pioneering DESERT and TROPICS technology are now fully set up, and ready to perform. But powering on the machinery has been a long time coming. Up until recently, this advanced piece of equipment had been waiting for clearance at a port in Brazil. Now that the formalities have been dealt with, both J.v.G. Thoma and its customer in Brazil can get production under way.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is a company whose vision has always been to harness the infinite power of the sun and convert it into an inexhaustible supply of energy. But a vision such as this requires global reach, and this project has opened new doors. Brazil is not only a gateway to South American cooperation, but also the launchpad to international reach and expansion.

Following the delivery of this initial order, J.v.G. Thoma GmbH will be looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Brazilian company. From setup and initial training to setting the scene for a ramp up, J.v.G. Thoma will be there to provide expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company will be jointly responsible, along with the client, for the successful integration of the DESERT solar module factory.

In the future, bigger DESERT power plants will be set up on Brazilian soil, and together with existing turnkey production systems, they intend to take up a large share of the products and assets this sector will possess locally. J.v.G. Thoma plans to build up a local network of sales agents that can extend a premium offering to neighbouring countries in South America. Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its customer base to clients in North America.

Hans Thoma, general manager from the Thoma-group, is eager to acquire a substantial market share in Brazil, a growing country with tremendous potential for solar energy output. Having complied with local official procedures (Inmetro, TÜV, Fraunhofer CSP) and cleared the way for future business collaboration, he expresses his hope that the solar industry will henceforth expand quickly.

”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Let
Source: Meyer Burger Technology Ltd