Cash infusion will keep SolarWorld's Hillsboro plant alive

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SolarWorld Americas Inc. announced late Wednesday that a cash infusion from creditors will allow the company to keep its Hillsboro plant operating with about 300 employees.

The solar panel maker was facing possible closure after the insolvency of German parent SolarWorld AG, and in May had notified its workforce that it expected to lay off at least 500 employees and possibly as many as 711 in mid-July.

But bolstered by $6 million in cash immediately as well as an allowance to sell assets not required for operations, the company expects to have cash “in the double-digit range” to continue operating.

Spokesman Ben Santarris said the company had “pulled back” but not stopped production in the past several weeks. Some of that production will resume, he said. The plant workforce had dropped from above 700 to around 300 through attrition, temporary releases and layoffs, Santarris said, and was likely to remain around 300 for the foreseeable future.

In a statement, the company’s president, Juergen Stein, said: “This financial reinforcement is good for our customers and suppliers alike. It means quite simply that we can reassure our business partners that we will remain a reliable force not only in supplying leading solar technology but also in continuing to fight for fair trade in the U.S. market and improving market conditions there.”

SolarWorld has joined bankrupt panel maker Suniva in claiming a flood of imports is causing “serious injury” to the U.S. solar manufacturing industry.

The case is before the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is set to make a determination of injury by Sept. 22. If it does find injury, it would then send a remedy recommendation on to President Donald Trump by Nov. 13. It would be his call on accepting, rejecting or modifying the recommendation.

 

Pete Danko covers energy, manufacturing and ports

© 2017 KGW-TV


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