Manz has revealed plans to resume operations at its facilities in Reutlingen and Tübingen, Germany, after the Easter break, with appropriate social-distancing rules to remain in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
However, the PV production equipment supplier said that some employees at the two locations will continue to work from home due to travel restrictions that remain in place throughout Germany. As a result, it noted that some employees – including people involved in assembly at clients’ production sites – will still not be able to resume their regular duties.
The announcement follows a three-week business shutdown in response to the ongoing global health crisis. Based on recommendations from the German federal government and the European Commission, the company temporarily shuttered its operations in Italy and Germany, including its facilities in Reutlingen and Tübingen.
Manz CEO Martin Drasch said that the company – known for its fully integrated CIGSfab turnkey manufacturing lines for the production of thin-film PV modules – made the decision last month to temporarily close its doors after discussing the pandemic with its business partners.
“The feedback we have received has strengthened our conviction that the decision to shut down operations in an orderly and structured manner was the right one,” Drasch explained. “Due to the restrictions imposed on us and our business partners, efficient work processes were simply not possible. Therefore, nothing would have damaged our reputation as a reliable partner more than an uncoordinated and inefficient maintenance of the status quo at that time.”
Around 75% of its employees in Reutlingen and Tübingen will return to work after the holiday weekend, allowing the company to continue to process current orders. However, its R&D facility in Italy will remain closed until further notice, it said. The company’s board will continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and will make additional changes to work practices as the situation with the outbreak changes.
Drasch said that since the beginning of its operational shutdown, Manz’s clients have continued to move forward on projects involving the company. He added that Manz has also continued to maintain “regular contact” with customers about planned project orders.
In March, Manz reported that revenue fell nearly 11% year on year to €264.4 million in 2019, as net income plunged roughly 29.8% to €48.4 million. It attributed the decline in performance to “customer project delays in the solar sector and the postponement of major investments in the establishment of a European battery production for the mobility turnaround.” However, it said that it is currently difficult to provide a concrete forecast for 2020, due to the uncertainty created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.