Issue Date: December 19, 2011
Polysilicon Makers Shrink Capacity
Wacker Chemie and MEMC Electronic Materials will cut production of polysilicon and silicon wafers to lower costs and adjust to weakening demand. The wafers are used by the semiconductor and solar industries. Wacker plans to close its Hikari, Japan, plant by mid-2012 and transfer the site’s output of 200-mm silicon wafers to plants in Singapore and Portland, Ore. The move, which will affect 500 employees, is part of a previously announced restructuring. Separately, MEMC says it will reduce its workforce by more than 1,300 positions, or 20%, including 250 jobs in the U.S. It plans to idle its 6,000-metric-ton-per-year polysilicon facility in Merano, Italy, and may close it unless “dramatic” cost reductions are achieved. MEMC will also reduce capacity at its Portland silicon facility.
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