Bosch to end photovoltaic business

Bosch said it will sell or shut down its heavily loss-making solar energy operations, the latest blow to the industry as Germany curbs green energy subsidies and cheap Chinese imports flood the market.

Chinese rivals have flooded global markets with cheap solar photovoltaic panels, prompting the European Commission to launch a dumping investigation.

Bosch said in a statement that it had decided to cease the manufacture of crystalline photovoltaics products, such as ingots, wafer, cells, and modules at beginning of 2014.

Module plant in Venissieux, France would be sold. Plans to construct a manufacturing facility in Malaysia would also be ended. Bosch will also sell its shares in Aleo Solar AG.

“All development and marketing activities are likewise to be ended,” said the company, adding that global overcapacity had become huge in the past years and made nearly the entire industry sustain heavy losses.

“Despite extensive measures to reduce manufacturing cost over the past year, we were unable to offset the drop in prices, which was as much as 40 percent,” said Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch Solar Energy AG supervisory board.

In the statement, Bosch announced that it would maintain its thin-film technology development center in Brandenburg State. Alignment of the unit, however, has not been decided yet.

Last year, Bosch suffered a loss of around 1 billion euros (1.29 billion U.S. dollars) in its solar energy division, which currently employs some 3,000 people.

Bosch is not the only company which has failed to retain a competitive position in the solar industry. In October last year, another German giant Siemens also decided to quit the industry because of lasting losses of its solar units.