Panasonic to close solar cell factory in Hungary-Nikkei

July 5 Thu Jul 4, 2013 5:03pm EDT

July 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic Corp plans to shut down its sole European solar cell plant next March and dismiss about 500 workers at the factory, the Nikkei reported.

The Hungarian factory will end production in September, leaving the company with one solar cell plant each in Japan's Osaka and Shiga prefectures and another in Malaysia, the business newspaper said.

Equipment from the Hungarian facility will be transported to the other plants, the daily said.

The European solar energy market is dominated by Chinese suppliers such as Yingli Green Energy. The market has been shrinking due to duties imposed by the European Union on imports of Chinese solar panels.

A growing Japanese market along with a weak yen prompted Panasonic to shift production to Japan from Europe, the Nikkei said.

The company aims to sell some 675,000 kw of solar cells worldwide in the year ending March, up 25 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese daily said.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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