St. Peters company to cut 20 percent of workforce

Thursday, December 8, 2011 | 8:37 a.m. CST; updated 10:07 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 8, 2011

ST. PETERS — MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. is eliminating about 20 percent of its work force and cutting production, slashing costs as it deals with weak demand in the solar energy and chip markets.

The St. Peters-based company, which makes silicon wafers for solar panels and semiconductors, said it will cut about 1,300 jobs, including about 250 in the United States.

It's idling a polysilicon plant in Italy, limiting production at other facilities and consolidating its solar materials and SunEdison business units.

MEMC said the moves will better align the business to market conditions and increase cash flow. It's taking a charge in the fourth quarter of about $700 million for the restructuring. It's also taking $425 million to $675 million in other charges.

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