SunPower to cut up to 160 jobs amidst restructuring

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Image: SunPower.

US solar firm SunPower is to cut up to 160 jobs as part of a restructuring plan following the spin off of its manufacturing operations.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made on 27 December 2019, SunPower said it was adopting a restructuring plan to “realign and optimise” its workforce in the wake of its decision to separate its solar panel manufacturing business into a separate listed entity, dubbed Maxeon Solar.

That decision was confirmed in mid-November 2019, however SunPower has now revealed that it will cost up to non-manufacturing 160 jobs, with affected employees to leave over the course of the next 12 – 18 months.

Between 65 and 70 jobs will be lost from its SunPower Technologies business units. Those affected have “largely” been informed, the company said, and are expected to leave the company after the spin off of Maxeon completes.

A further 80 to 90 employees are to leave SunPower’s Energy Services business between Q4 FY 2019 and the first half of 2020 as it “hones its focus on distributed generation, storage and energy services”.

SunPower said the number of layoffs constitutes around 3% of its entire global workforce.

The total cost of the restructuring is expected to fall between US$16 million and US$22 million, comprising mainly of severance and retention benefits of around US$11 million each.

SunPower has incurred a string of net losses in recent years as revenues have almost halved from the US$3.027 billion recorded in 2014 to between US$1.5 – 1.7 billion over the past four years.

This has culminated in net losses in each of the last four years, ranging from US$299 million in 2016 to US$929 million in 2017.

 The high-efficiency PV module maker said in October 2018 that it would sell assets and increase its loans in order to avoid bankruptcy during the following year, resulting in the divestment of leased assets to Goldman Sachs.

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