REC Closes Norway Plant

The company announced late 24 April, Tuesday, that it would close its last production plant in Norway to focus on operations in Singapore and the United States, affecting 460 jobs at its monocrystalline wafers at Heroeya, south of Oslo.

Ailing solar equipment maker Renewable Energy Corp. put its hopes on growing markets outside Europe as declining prices pushed its first-quarter into the red and forced it to close its last remaining capacity in Norway.

The Norwegian company, struggling through a global silicon glut, said there had been a sharp decline in average selling prices for all products and reduced sales volume of wafers in the quarter.

“Going forward it is expected that a number of markets, in particular in Asia and the U.S., will continue to grow and hence demand will diversify away from the key markets in Europe,” it said.

REC said the German market, which has been supported by government subsidies, was expected to shrink as new support schemes comes into full effect from the second half of 2012.

The values of fixed-assets at the Heroeya wafer plant were written down to zero in 2011.

First-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell to 455 million Norwegian crowns ($79.4 million) from 1.45 billion crowns in the same period a year ago, above the mean estimate of 393 million in a Reuters poll.

Its pretax loss of 259 million crowns was however greater analyst’s mean forecast for a 161 million crown loss, and EBITDA excluding non-recurring items came in at 27 million crowns, while analysts had expected 93 million.


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