GT Advanced cuts workforce again, to idle solar furnaces plant

Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:39am EST

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Solar and LED equipment maker GT Advanced Technologies Inc, which slashed about a quarter of its workforce last October, said it will cut 35 more jobs and idle a pilot plant that makes solar furnaces.

GT Advanced said it expects to start selling the solar furnaces by mid-year, but orders may not come in until 2014 due to weak market conditions. Solar furnaces make silicon wafers that help make solar cells.

Solar companies are battling global oversupply and a rapid price decline that is erasing margins and making profits elusive.

The company said it was seeking a strategic partner to buy the idled operation, located in St. Louis, Missouri and currently outfitted to produce about 12.5 million wafers per year.

GT Advanced estimates the idling to cut annualized expenses by about $15 million, excluding restructuring charges. It expects to incur restructuring and non-cash asset impairment charges in the quarter ended Dec.31 and in 2013.

GT Advanced said it completed the consolidation of its business units - photovoltaic, polysilicon and sapphire - into a single group called crystal growth systems.

The company's shares were up 3 percent at $3.54 on the Nasdaq on Thursday morning.