Juwi to cut 400 jobs, seek investor

'How did we reach the point where it could soon make more economic sense to farm batteries than sheep?

Sheep surround a Juwi head-office PV array

Following a dramatic 30% drop in revenues last year, German renewables developer Juwi will embark on a restructuring and cost-saving programme that foresees the cutting of about 400 jobs, the elimination of non-core business areas and the search for an outside investor. 

"If we want to secure our future, we don't see alternatives to these grave measures that are painful for many employees and friends of the company," Juwi owners Matthias Willenbacher and Fred Jung said.

Juwi's revenue last year plunged by close to 30% to €710m ($970m) amid a collapse of the market for large German solar arrays that could only partially be offset by more wind developments in Germany and a shift to overseas activities, the company said.

Juwi added that its operating profit was slightly positive, but didn't reveal further details. The privately-held company doesn't disclose net profit or quarterly figures.

The developer plans to shed about 250 of its staff in Germany and some 150 overseas. Juwi will also examine, and possibly close, some of its activities in Europe and in the Americas.

It will spin off non-core activities such as wind turbine towers, solar mounting systems and its electricity distribution business.

The company plans to strengthen its own capital by finding an outside investor and "adapting" current loan contracts to the restructured business.

In the wake of the restructuring, Juwi has appointed Stefan Gros as new chief financial officer and Stephan Hansen as chief operational officer. Previous CFO Martin Winter left the company at the end of June.

Juwi says a good project pipeline will help it to change toward a long-term sustainable course. In wind, the company expects to develop between 200MW and 300MW in Germany this year.

At the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015, Juwi expects to develop solar projects in Uruguay, South Africa, the US and Australia with a combined capacity of more than 200MW, to be followed by solar projects in Chile, Japan, and the UK.

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