Bitterfeld-Wolfen (Germany), 14 September 2012 – The administrator and works council of Q-Cells SE have agreed on a social plan after around two weeks of negotiations. The agreement sets forth that employees whose employment contracts are to be terminated shall be able to either move to a re-employment and training company as of 1 October or receive a redundancy payment. The number of employees who will lose their jobs is significantly lower than previously expected – with 80% of the original workforce retaining their jobs.
Instead of the 1,250 employees announced at the end of August, the Hanwha group now intends to take on over 1,300 current Q-Cells employees in order to be able to continue operations successfully going forward. This means that only 199 employees will lose their jobs instead of the 271 originally announced. The social plan for employees affected by the redundancy measures offers a wide range of opportunities above and beyond what is normally possible during insolvency proceedings. Employees will have the choice between switching to a re-employment and training company or voluntary redundancy.
“This is an extremely positive result given the circumstances,” said administrator Henning Schorisch after the conclusion of negotiations with the works council. The administrators and the works council have today informed employees in detail about the social plan and their options.
The re-employment and training company will begin operations on 1 October 2012. Employees who decide to switch to the re-employment and training company will be given support for a period of ten months in the form of training and assistance in searching and applying for jobs. They will receive 80% of their most recent net monthly salary up to a maximum of the social security contribution ceiling. The salary compensation is therefore significantly higher than typical initial unemployment benefit rates of 60% (employees without children) and 67% (employees with children). In addition to this, employees switching to the re-employment and training company will also receive a one-off lump-sum payment amounting to one month’s gross salary.
Employees who decide to take voluntary redundancy will continue to be paid as normal until the end of their notice period (a maximum of three months as of the end of a month during insolvency proceedings). In addition, they will also receive a lump-sum payment amounting to one month’s gross salary and a redundancy payment in accordance with the provisions of the social plan.
Administrator Henning Schorisch sold the Q-Cells SE business to South Korean conglomerate Hanwha at the end of August. By taking over Q.CELLS, Hanwha is planning to expand its position as one of the world’s leading providers of photovoltaic technology. Hanwha is one of the largest companies in South Korea, with an annual turnover of USD 31.6 billion (2011). The Hanwha group is active in the chemicals, insurance, banking, mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical and construction industries and already operates in the photovoltaic sector with its Chinese subsidiary Hanwha SolarOne. Q-Cells SE filed for insolvency on 3 April 2012 after a separate ruling by the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court made the debt restructuring measures that had been developed over the course of previous months unfeasible.
The Q.CELLS Group is one of the world’s leading photovoltaics companies and offers a wide range of photovoltaic solutions, from solar cells and modules to solar power plants. Q.CELLS’s products are developed and manufactured at its headquarters in Bitterfeld-Wolfen (Germany) and marketed via its global sales network. It also has a second production plant in Malaysia. More than 200 scientists and engineers at Q.CELLS are working to swiftly advance solar technology and achieve Q.CELLS’ twin aims: driving down the costs of photovoltaics quickly and permanently, and making solar power competitive. The close links between R&D and production enable Q.CELLS to rapidly translate cutting-edge innovation into mass production - and underpin its ambition to be at the forefront of photovoltaic technology. Q-Cells SE is quoted in the Prime Standard on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662).
Q-Cells SE i.I.
OT Thalheim, Sonnenallee 17-21
06766 Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany
FAX +49 (0)3494 6699.10000
Press contact insolvency administrator at Q.CELLS
TEL +49 (0)221-801087-87
Q.CELLS Corporate Communications
Ina von Spies, Alberta Rohardt
TEL +49 (0)3494 6699 10121
Q.CELLS Investor Relations
TEL +49 (0)3494 6699 10101
Lawyer Henning Schorisch, insolvency administrator of Q-Cells SE
Executive Board: Dr Nedim Cen (CEO, CFO), Dr Andreas von Zitzewitz (COO, CSO)
Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Prof Dr h c Karlheinz Hornung