MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. announced a series of actions to be taken during the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 that will reduce the companys global workforce, right size its production capacity and accelerate operating cost reductions in 2012 and beyond. The actions better align the business to current and expected market conditions in the semiconductor and solar markets and are expected to improve the companys overall cost competitiveness and increase cash flow generation across all segments.
As a result of market conditions and the actions announced on December 8, 2011, MEMC expects to take a charge in the fourth quarter of 2011 of approximately US$700 million, of which approximately US$520 million is expected to be non-cash. Cash use associated with the restructuring is expected to be approximately US$180 million, more than half of which is expected to occur after 2012. The company projects annualized cash flow benefits to exceed US$200 million by the end of 2012 through labor productivity, procurement savings, and a more efficient asset base.
In addition to the charges related to the global restructuring announced today, the company is evaluating existing goodwill and deferred tax assets. An additional non-cash charge associated with the potential impairment of goodwill is expected to be taken in the 2011 fourth quarter, and based on preliminary results of MEMCs annual goodwill impairment testing, could range from US$200 million to US$400 million. A non-cash charge related to the potential realizability of deferred tax assets is also expected to be taken in the 2011 fourth quarter which could range from US$225 million to US$275 million.
"We believe these actions strengthen MEMC in the near term and position us for more profitable growth in our core businesses--semiconductor wafers and solar energy systems," said Ahmad Chatila, MEMCs Chief Executive Officer. "Changed market conditions require that we improve productivity across all segments and in solar move to a more balanced manufacturing model aligned with our downstream business. We are moving quickly on these carefully considered actions and expect increased cash flow during the next year. Going forward, we remain committed to our tradition of providing advanced technology and superior service to our global semiconductor and solar customers."
Summary of Restructuring Activities
Restructuring actions to improve the cash flow outlook for the company are broad based, covering all segments and impacting a substantial number of employees and production assets. The company expects these actions to result in a leaner and more focused business serving semiconductor wafer and solar energy systems customers. These actions are expected to reduce operating expenses by over 15% versus the companys current run rate.
- As part of this restructuring, MEMC will reduce its total workforce by over 1,300 persons worldwide, approximately 20% of the companys employees. Of the reductions, approximately 250 positions are in the United States, and an estimated 41% are in the Semiconductor Materials segment and 47% are in the Solar Materials segment;
- Having substantially completed a multi-year realignment of our global semiconductor crystal and wafer manufacturing footprint, the company is undertaking more aggressive productivity initiatives to implement best practices across sites;
- The company intends to idle its Merano, Italy polysilicon facility, up to 6,000 metric tons of annual capacity, and may close it unless dramatic feedstock, power, and other cost reductions are achieved in the near term. The company is working with the province and key suppliers to determine the feasibility of such reductions;
- To improve costs and alignment with current market conditions, the company will reduce production capacity at its Portland, Oregon crystal facility to allow us to optimize the technology utilized at this facility, and will limit the ramp of the Kuching, Malaysia wafering facility to 300MW; and
- To focus on providing our downstream solar customers the highest quality and lowest cost systems and achieve improved operating efficiencies, the Solar Materials and SunEdison business units will be consolidated into a single Solar Energy business unit, effective January 1, 2012.
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