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First Solar To Close Manufacturing Opns. In Frankfurt - Quick Facts

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First Solar, Inc. (FSLR: Quote) said it is restructuring its operations in response to deteriorating market conditions in Europe and to reduce costs and align its organization with sustainable market opportunities.

As part of the above program, the company will close its manufacturing operations in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, in the fourth quarter of 2012. Besides, First Solar will indefinitely idle four production lines at its manufacturing center in Kulim, Malaysia, on May 1, 2012.

According to the company, the above actions, combined with other personnel reductions in Europe and U.S., will reduce its global workforce by around 2,000 positions, about 30 percent of the total.

The restructuring initiatives are expected to reduce First Solar's costs by $30-60 million in 2012 and $100-120 million annually going forward. Also, the company's average manufacturing cost is expected to improve to $0.70-$0.72 per watt in 2012 as a result of the changes, below prior expectations of $0.74 per watt. In 2013, the company estimates that average module manufacturing costs will range from $0.60 to $0.64 per watt.

First Solar stated that to achieve cost savings, it will record restructuring and other related charges of $245-370 million, of which $80-120 million are cash expenditures. The company expects to incur charges primarily during the first quarter of 2012 and the rest over the course of this year.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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