ATS Automation cuts solar module production at French plant by two thirds
By The Canadian Press | October 28, 2011
CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (TSX:ATA) is slashing production at its subsidiary in France due to a slowdown in demand for solar modules and systems.
Cambridge-based ATS said Friday that production at the Photowatt France manufacturing plant in Bourgoin-Jallieu is being reduced to about one-third of capacity.
Earlier this week the company disclosed that discussions to spin off its solar-energy subsidiaries to unnamed interested parties had ended without an agreement.
ATS, which makes machinery and equipment for industrial and automotive markets, had been exploring the sale of its solar businesses in France and Ontario, or a combined sale of both operations.
The company has been particularly focused on trying to shed its troubled solar energy subsidiary in France, which has been a chronic financial drag.
“The state of economic conditions in Europe and further deterioration in the demand for solar products in France and the rest of Europe are negatively impacting Photowatt France,” the company said in a release.
In Friday trading on the TSX, ATS shares fell nine cents to $6.26, a drop of 1.4 per cent.
ATS, which employs about 3,000 people, also builds and installs factory automation systems for the semiconductor and fibre optics, computer, solar energy and healthcare sectors.
The company is based in the southwestern Ontario industrial city of Cambridge.
The global solar energy technology market has slumped recently in part because of reduced government subsidies to solar panel makers and intense competition from China, which has made solar technology a core growth area.