Sputnik limits job losses as restructuring gets underway

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Sputnik Engineering, the firm behind the SolarMax invertor brand, claims to have limited the extent of job losses as it begins a restructuring.

It was originally feared that losses could reach 70 but the company has said just 52 positions are affected following consultations with staff.

In a statement released to local media last month, it was revealed that the worst case scenario for job losses was avoided after some staff waived bonuses for the next years and others agreed to reduce hours.

Sales teams in key markets, including Switzerland will be reinforced.

The company plans to centralise its European support network at its headquarters in Biel, Switzerland. It had already revealed its intentions to focus its efforts on the European and US markets.

“As a result of cuts regarding the subsidy programmes, trading obstacles, competition from the Far East and the insecure economic situation in some countries, the photovoltaics market performed worse than expected this year,” said Christoph von Bergen, CEO of Sputnik Engineering.

“The photovoltaics industry is in upheaval, but there still is an enormous growth potential in the future. Therefore, flexibility and the ability to adapt are essential factors for the survival of a company in today's PV environment. Currently, we believe that the industry will return to growth even in Europe as of 2014,” added von Bergen.

The company said it needed to concentrate on less complex markets.

“Although the markets with the strongest growth at the moment are for example China, Japan and India, these markets, however, are not simple. They are highly competitive and involve many risks,” Hans-Thomas Fritzsche, CSO of Sputnik Engineering told PV Tech.

“It is very difficult for a European inverter company to enter the market successfully in these countries,” said Fritzsche.

“We also have offices in Chile and Australia. No changes are planned there. At the beginning of this year we launched our office in the US. We firmly believe that there is enormous opportunity for SolarMax. The generation of electricity from the sun has reached grid parity in some states today with more to follow shortly,” he added.

The company also revealed plans to tweak its product line-up including more work in its energy storage and load management systems.

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