Overcapacity in the c-Si ingot/wafer supply chain has forced materials specialist, Cookson to close one of its two ingot crucible production plants in China, with immediate effect. The company had closed a similar plant in the Czech Republic in July 2012, which has supplied crucibles, primarily to the European market. Major European-based ingot/wafer producers such as PV Crystalox are down below 30% capacity utilization on the back of weak demand.
Cookson said that the closure of one of the crucible production plants would result in a non-cash charge of £16 million, together with cash-related restructuring costs of £1 million. Cookson also said it would be reducing temporary worker levels and overtime, as well as a hiring freeze and curtailment of discretionary costs.
The company made the announcement amid unexpected weakness in several sectors, including the steel industry.