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Citing ‘structural’ overcapacity, ‘significant price declines’ and a fall in demand of crystalline silicon wafers, Sumco has decided to completely exit the market. The company expects to incur charges of ¥5 billion, folding both wafer subsidiaries, Sumco Solar Corporation and Minimata Denshi, and noted that it would report a significant operating loss in its fiscal fourth quarter results. Sumco said that wafer prices had declined by 70% from January 2011.

Sumco had guided that solar wafer segment losses in the fourth quarter would be -¥7.2 billion and full-year losses of -¥6 billion.

Sumco is also restructuring and consolidating its semiconductor wafer operations. The reduction in demand for 200mm wafers was cited as one of the reasons for the changes. Sumco said it would close its Ikuno 200mm plant and transfer production to its Imari and Nagasaki facilities. However, the company is also closing its 300mm wafer line at its Nagasaki plant, while a 150mm wafer line at its Imari plant will also close.

In total, Sumco expects to incur charges related to the restructuring charges of approximately -¥58.2 billion, with 1,300 job losses, or 15% of its workforce.

Sumco had used a proprietary ‘Electromagnetic Casting Method,’ which produced seven-metre long ingots with extremely high purity.