Swiss Solar Pioneer Contemplates A Strategic Shift: Considering Closure Of German Factory


Meyer Burger’s Strategic Pivot: Navigating Challenges in Europe, Eyeing Expansion in the US

In a bold and strategic move, Swiss solar photovoltaic module producer Meyer Burger Technology is facing a pivotal moment. The company has disclosed potential plans to close its factory in Freiberg, Germany, a decision that could mark a significant shift in the solar industry landscape. With the potential shutdown looming as early as April 2024, about 500 employees are poised at a crossroads.

This critical decision hinges on the second half of February 2024. Meyer Burger is awaiting concrete measures to level the playing field in Europe, like a resilience-reward scheme. Absent these measures, the company faces a stark reality. The European market distortion has already left its mark: Meyer Burger anticipates a total sales figure of approximately CHF135m (€143m) for the fiscal year 2023, with an EBITDA loss of at least CHF126m and a year-end cash position of around CHF150m.

As Meyer Burger prepares to enter discussions with all stakeholders regarding this decisive closure, it’s not just about shutting doors. “In the event of a closure, necessary positions in engineering, technology, supply chain management, and certain other critical functions at the manufacturing site in Freiberg would be offered the option of transferring their contracts to other Meyer Burger entities,” the company assures.

Meanwhile, the Thalheim solar cell production facility in Germany will continue its vital role, supporting the ramp-up of US solar module manufacturing in Goodyear. This strategic shift underscores Meyer Burger’s resilience and adaptability in the face of market challenges.

The potential closure of the Freiberg factory is a part of Meyer Burger’s broader strategy to minimize losses in Europe and pivot towards profitable growth in the US. The company’s statement reflects a clear-eyed assessment of the current market: “With a deteriorating market environment in Europe, continuing with full-scale European solar manufacturing is not sustainable for the time being.”

In parallel to these changes, Meyer Burger is exploring strategic partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of its technology. These collaborations aim to foster faster growth with reduced capital requirements while strengthening the local US supply chain.

Gunter Erfurt, Meyer Burger’s CEO, shares a forward-looking vision: “In the US, we can take full advantage of our leading technology position, resulting in substantial interest by partners and supported by favorable industry policies. Given 5.4GW of order book under offtake agreements and a potential to generate EBITDA at roughly CHF250m in 2026, we are able to grow a profitable business, providing a positive outlook for our shareholders. The expansion of the US business is currently proceeding as planned with the ramp-up of our solar module production site in Goodyear, expected to start in the second quarter of 2024.”

Key Insights:

  • Meyer Burger is at a crossroads with potential closure plans in Germany due to market challenges in Europe.
  • The company is shifting focus to the US, where favorable policies and technology leadership offer a promising future.
  • Strategic partnerships and US expansion are key to Meyer Burger’s plan for profitable growth.

Join the Dialogue:

  • What are your thoughts on Meyer Burger’s strategic shift?
  • How do you see the future of solar manufacturing balancing between Europe and the US?

#SolarEnergy #MeyerBurger #RenewableEnergy #GreenTech #SustainableBusiness #USExpansion







Credits: [Image: Meyer Burger]

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