Solar inverter manufacturer SMA Solar Technology AG has announced it will lay off about 800 employees in Germany by the end of next year.
At a June 3 employee meeting, SMA's managing board revealed that a total of 700 full-time positions will be downscaled by Dec. 31, 2014. The company says this corresponds to around 800 employees, as the layoffs will affect both full-time and part-time employees. Following the job cuts, full-time positions in Germany will be at 3,000.
According to SMA, the layoffs are a necessary response to changing conditions in the global photovoltaic market and the associated strong decline in sales.
"We are expecting an extended period of consolidation in the solar sector," explains SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon." For the first time in many years, measured in euros, the global photovoltaic market will decline in 2013. As market leader, we will be especially affected by this.
"In such a short space of time, we are not able to offset the sharp decrease in sales -Â nearly 50 percent since 2010 – with the ongoing measures for increasing productivity and saving on material costs alone," he continues." We have therefore been forced to make even more far-reaching changes than planned to our personnel structure over the coming months."
In May, SMA reported a sharp decline in first-quarter sales and foreshadowed possible cuts to its workforce. Urbon said the company would soon"adjust the personnel structures," of the company and negotiate with the Work Council. SMA says negotiations with the council are ongoing.
"The planned downsizing is unavoidable if SMA is to emerge strengthened from the current consolidation phase in the solar sector," says Urbon." When making decisions about these cutbacks, we have used our best judgement and have kept an eye on our shared values."
SMA says its managing board believes that the long-term prospects in the industry and for the company are good.
"Our future energy supply will be largely decentralized and will be based on renewable energies," says Orbon." We will actively help to shape the transformation in the energy sector through the development of entirely new product platforms, our excellent service and our global presence."