Panasonic to exit solar cell production in Europe

Japanese electronics ,ake4r Panasonic plans to close down its only European solar cell plant in March 2014 and dismiss around 500 workers, Japanese business daily, Nikkei reported yesterday.

Panasonic, which started developing solar panels in 1975, will stop production at its Hungarian solar cell factory in September and sack around 500 workers, the report said.

The paper said that the Japanese market growth along with the recent weakening of the yen, has led to the company shift its solar cell production from Europe to Japan.

Panasonic will transfer equipment at the Hungarian facility to factories in Malaysia and Japan, the daily said.

The closure will leave the company with one solar cell plant each in Osaka and Shiga prefectures in Japan and one in Malaysia.

European solar panel manufacturers have been hit hard with their Chinese counterparts dumping solar products at cheap prices in Europe, the world's biggest solar market.

The EU regulators have accused Chinese solar panel makers of getting state subsidies and selling their products in Europe below costs.

The regulator last month began to impose 11.8 per cent duties on all solar products imports from China until 6 August, and if no settlement is reached, the average rate will then rise to 47.6 per cent.

China responded to EU's decision by opening its own trade investigation into European wine and threatening another into luxury cars.