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Trina Solar Separating Manufacturing, Development Operations

Trina Solar Ltd., China’s third-largest producer of solar cells, is separating its manufacturing business and its power-plant development operations in an effort to reduce costs after sales plunged.

The company announced the restructuring plan, which also includes “some headcount reductions,” in a statement today.

Solar manufacturers are contending with a global glut that’s driving down prices and eating into margins as governments from Europe to the U.S. pare back support. Prices for solar cells fell 45 percent in the past year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The company said last month that it expected project development to boost revenue.

The job cuts will be “significant,” Thomas Young, vice president of investor relations for Changzhou, China-based Trina, said today in an interview, and many of the details haven’t been finalized. “It’s a large task, obviously. You have growth in some areas and transition in others.”

Trina reported second-quarter sales of $346.1 million on Aug. 21, down 40 percent from a year earlier. It reduced its forecast for 2012 shipments by as much as 17 percent as its inventories and short-term debt both doubled.

JA Solar Holdings Co. was the largest provider of solar cells last year followed by Suntech Power Holdings Co.

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