Tokyo Electron Will Stop Making Solar Panel Production Equipment

Tokyo Electron Ltd., the chipmaking equipment supplier that agreed to be bought by Applied Materials Inc., will stop making and selling equipment used to make solar panels at the end of March.

The decision comes amid a weak business environment because of an oversupply of production equipment, Tokyo Electron said in a statement today. Tokyo Electron acquired Oerlikon Solar, the photovoltaics unit of Swiss industrial equipment maker OC Oerlikon Corp., in 2012 for an enterprise value of 250 million Swiss francs ($278 million).

“Amid uncertainties of a recovery in the market environment, we have decided to scale down our business structure,” the Tokyo-based company said in the statement. Support for units already delivered will continue.

Tokyo Electron plans to reassign employees in the solar business to other positions, according to the statement. The company will consider cutting jobs at the Swiss subsidiary, now called TEL Solar AG.

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