May 10 Applied Materials Inc will
restructure its environmental solutions business as it grapples
with lower demand for equipment used for making solar cells.
The world's largest chip fabrication equipment maker will
relocate its solar wafer manufacturing facilities to Asia from
Cheseaux, Switzerland, it said in a regulatory filing on
A global supply glut of solar panels has pressured margins,
forcing companies to cut costs as prices fall.
Applied Materials said it expects to record pre-tax charges
between $70 million and $100 million, or 4 cents to 6 cents per
share, over the next 12 to 18 months related to the
restructuring, which will affect about 250 employees globally.
The restructuring comes almost a year after the company
announced its $4.9 billion acquisition of Varian Semiconductor,
which was expected to help it corner a larger share in the solar
The environmental solutions segment, which manufactures
equipment for fabricating solar cells and Light Emitting Diodes,
recorded $1.68 billion, or 17 percent, of Applied's new orders
for fiscal 2011. But orders have dried up since. The segment
reported $33 million in new orders for the last quarter - down
about 62 percent.
Applied Materials shares, which traded above $50 in
mid-2000, closed at $11.08 on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.