Renewable Energy Corp. ASA, the world’s largest maker of polysilicon used in solar panels, dropped the most in more than five weeks in Oslo trading after shutting down production at its new plant in Moses Lake, Washington.
Renewable Energy fell as much as 5.9 kroner, or 11 percent, to 49.2 kroner in Oslo trading, the steepest intraday decline since Feb. 20. It was at 53.5 kroner as of 9:02 a.m. local time. The stock has slipped 17 percent this year, compared with a 2.9 percent rise in the Oslo benchmark OBX index.
The Hovik, Norway-based company shut the factory for safety reasons due to “instability in certain operating parameters,” it said in an e-mailed statement today. The duration of the production halt can’t yet be determined, the company said. The company announced a start of production on the Moses Lake plant on March 30. Production targets for this year are at 10,000 to 11,000 metric tons, Renewable Energy said earlier this week.
“It is too early to say whether this will impact” production targets, Jon Andre Lokke, REC’s head of investor relations, said by phone. “The plant had been producing for 10 days” and produced “several dozen tons,” he said.
Renewable Energy was previously forced to cut its 2009 output forecast because of two postponements at Moses Lake, the world’s first plant dedicated solely to producing solar-grade silicon. Polysilicon is purified silicon used to make electronic and solar components.
The company on March 30 said Chief Executive Officer Erik Thorsen is stepping down and Chairman Ole Enger will take over his position from April 4.