SunEdison's Silicon Restructuring Adds $437 Million Charge

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  • Plans to close Texas factory, sell Malaysia facility to Longi
  • Moves will eliminate about 220 jobs, reduce operating costs

SunEdison Inc. is restructuring its remaining polysilicon manufacturing operations in moves that will result in fourth-quarter charges totaling $437 million and the loss of about 220 jobs in Texas and Oregon.

Its shares slumped 9.6 percent to $1.51 at the close in New York.

The world’s biggest renewable-energy developer plans to close its plant in Pasadena, Texas, sell its Malaysia factory to China’s Xi’an Longi Silicon Materials Corp. and shift production at its Portland, Oregon, facility to focus on research and development, Maryland Heights, Missouri-based SunEdison said in a statement Thursday. More than half the charges are non-cash impairments, and the company will also record other charges of as much as $13 million in the current quarter.

SunEdison shed much of its semiconductor business, which supplies material to both electronics chipmakers and solar manufacturers, when it formed SunEdison Semiconductor Ltd. and sold shares in an initial offering in May 2014. It retained some operations that were focused on high-quality polysilicon for high-efficiency solar cells, and after this move will still have a joint-venture facility in South Korea.

The company also signed a agreement to buy up as much as 3 gigawatts of high-efficiency panels from Longi over several years.

SunEdison’s shares have slumped more than 90 percent in the past year, and the company is under pressure to conserve cash and pay down debt as it seeks to close a planned $1.9 billion acquisition of Vivint Solar Inc., a solar rooftop developer.