BEIJING Jan 13 The world's largest solar
module maker, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. STP.N, said it
laid off 10 percent of its 8,000-strong workforce last quarter
and had suspended a plan to expand capacity by 40 percent in
2009 due to weak demand.
"The company was planning to expand capacity. But we made
the decision to suspend it, judging from the impact of
financial crisis and the real market conditions," a spokeswoman
said, confirming media reports.
The staff cuts and plans to suspend manufacturing capacity
were reported by China Business News on Monday, quoting Suntech
Chairman Shi Zhengrong.
The company also suspended a plan to hire 2,000 staff,
Suntech's spokeswoman said.
The once red-hot solar sector is feeling the chill of the
global financial crisis as funding for solar projects remains
scarce and a dramatic drop in oil prices curtails demand for
Global revenues for photovoltaic solar panels are expected
to drop 19 percent in 2009, believed to be the sector's
first-ever contraction, as prices fall due to oversupply,
research firm iSuppli said last December.[ID:nTP277612]
Suntech's New York-listed shares STP.N fell 14 percent on
Monday along with declines in the sector, posting much steeper
declines than the weaker broader market.
(Reporting by Michael Wei; Editing by Anshuman Daga)